Video distribution: How Facebook is taking on YouTube

With the enormous uptake and engagement with online video, it’s unsurprising that Facebook is making a real challenge to YouTube‚Äôs dominance as the main online video-viewing channel. Whilst posting YouTube links on Facebook has always been possible, Facebook has made fundamental changes to the way they manage videos and views:

  1. Not only can users now watch videos directly uploaded to Facebook, the thumbnails for the videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook are about six times larger than the thumbnails for YouTube videos. Take a look at the comparative image below.FB v YT 1
  2. Facebook now has over one billion direct video views each day, however don’t be misled by this. A three-second ‘view’ on your newsfeed of an autoplayed video on silent, counts as a view for Facebook – and this approach is racking up the numbers. On YouTube a view of the page itself is counted as a view for the video up until a video has had 300 views. From 300 views upwards the algorithm changes and one page view may only count as 1/3 of a view or less ‚Äì as Google is screening out robotic views. The end result is that one validated view on YouTube is likely to be more valuable than five or even ten views on Facebook ‚Äì so be wary comparing views across the two platforms.

FB v YT 4

So what does this mean

A one-to-one comparison of video views directly loaded into Facebook with YouTube links in Facebook is disingenuous. If engagement and sentiment towards videos drives stronger engagement (we would suggest this is far more important than simply counting views as a marker of success) then making a comparison between the sites isn’t that useful. However, unlike YouTube, which is fundamentally a video viewing platform, Facebook is built for sharing, connecting and socialising with others. It appears that users more readily feel the urge to click the share button, give a like and comment on a video uploaded to Facebook than on YouTube Рwhich begs the question, why not up the engagement and upload directly to Facebook for seamless integration between viewers watching content and feeling the urge to share content.


Keep on posting video to both sites as they both have a roll to play. If you would like your video to get organic traffic, then it must be loaded onto YouTube as Google doesn‚Äôt show Facebook videos in its search results. Great titles, tags and descriptions on YouTube will give you much better SEO results. If you are a consumer brand and have built a great following on Facebook then post directly to Facebook ‚Äì just don‚Äôt compare the views between Facebook and YouTube or add them together. Here at Somersault we have worked on campaigns that have had huge success on both YouTube and Facebook – please get in touch if you would like to find out more about these projects.   Save

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