Is Facebook better than YouTube for sharing video?

EDIT: I wrote this before Facebook admitted to inflating video metrics, because they’re a bunch of bastards and want your money / content. So please take all of this with a pinch of salt. 

For our website, IM PLAYIN, me and the chaps have been experimenting with how we create, publish and share our video-content.

We used to use YouTube as a way to share our videos. But since Facebook switched its APIs to favour video content, we noticed a real rise in views for our media. For instance, videos we uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook gained (at best) 400 views – which is fairly modest. Whereas videos we upload directly to Facebook can currently get in excess of 21,000 views. That’s the theme for much of our YouTube video content, when compared to how that content performs on Facebook.

Our top viewed videos on YouTube

As you can see, our top viewed video on YouTube has, as of writing this post, 469 views.

Our top viewed videos on Facebook

On the other hand, you can see that our Facebook videos are performing significantly better.

So the switch to uploading our videos to Facebook directly was an easy one, for us at least.

And, logically, when Facebook launched their new Live Stream service, we wanted to get in on that action too. So we’ve now abandoned Twitch as our main platform for streaming video-games as we play them – and we now go directly through Facebook. Again, we’re getting ten times the number of people viewing our Live Streams on Facebook as we would through Twitch or even YouTube.

But why is that?

Facebook wants to be the home of all content. It’s created ‘Instant Articles’ so that users can remain in the Facebook app when reading articles from other sources. It’s got its own buying and selling platform through the Marketplace, to rival services like Gumtree and eBay. And, when it comes to video, Facebook seems to boost the posts with video content uploaded directly – rather than shared via link, through platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. Facebook also has an auto-play feature, which gives a significant increase to video views. In all, they want to keep their audience within Facebook for as long as possible – and video content is currently the best way to do that.

So why would that help you, as a museum or cultural institution?

Firstly, I guarantee that you’ll see a much larger viewership for your videos if you upload them directly to Facebook. Rather than uploading to YouTube and sharing them on Facebook. If not, I’ll gladly eat my words (provided you’re happy to print them – preferably on sugar paper).

Secondly, it’s a great way to keep people in one place – ensuring the conversation isn’t diluted across multiple platforms. If you’re looking to do two platforms really well, particularly if you’re a smaller museum, I feel that this is the way to do it. Use Facebook to upload video content and engage with your audience. Use Twitter to do more B2B, as generally that’s where you’ll find the ‘specialists’ rather than the general public.

Thirdly, boosting your Facebook video content with paid advertising on the platform will greatly increase its reach. Again, by utilising Facebook’s API and uploading video content directly, your boosted post will reach a far larger audience than it would as a link to YouTube. Combine that with the auto-play feature, and you’ll probably be doubling the video’s views. We’ll be testing that on IM PLAYIN’s Facebook page with our best performing video so far – so I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, it makes sense to keep your hard worked content where it’ll be seen by your largest audience segment. Assuming that’s Facebook of course! If you have 1,000 subscribers on YouTube and only 150 Facebook fans – maybe this post isn’t for you. That being said, using video content is a great way to increase your fan-base. So maybe it’s worth experimenting with how you’re using Facebook?

Social media platforms predominately started life as places to share snippets of text – an evolution of the messaging platforms like MSN Messenger. They then evolved to be a place where images were key, through platforms like Instagram. Now, it’s all about video content – particularly as 3G / 4G on mobile devices becomes more reliable, and data packages drop in price. Increasingly, social media is about live video content, as people want to be tuned into the moment.

The future? I think we’ll be seeing a rise in new and improved messenger platforms – particularly as Chatbots / AIs become more commonplace. People want to have meaningful conversations and interactions with their select groups of friends – so it’ll be interesting to see how the social media platforms manage to tap into that.

BUT a word of caution. It’s still worth uploading your video content to YouTube, or Vimeo, as well as Facebook. Mainly because it’s easier to embed videos from YouTube onto your website (though you can embed from Facebook).But it’s also a good idea to have your videos saved elsewhere, for prosperity. Plus, it’s a simple way to slightly increase your content’s reach – even if only a few hundred people see it.

So in my humble opinion, Facebook is indeed better for video than YouTube – at least when it comes to the potential reach of your content. But maybe you disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

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