YouTube has dominated the world of video advertising for years… frankly since it created the video-as-a-website model. This summer, though, Facebook made 2 big changes to its video content, including a new Suggested Videos section in the news feed – that placed YouTube’s control of digital video squarely in its crosshairs.
More video content means new opportunities to sell advertising, and Facebook (which has built a $7.4 billion advertising business on the back of its social network in less than four years) announced big changes to how it charges marketers for video ads.
Rather than charging marketers on a cost-per-impression basis as soon as an ad comes on screen, Facebook will now give marketers the choice to only pay for a video ad after it has played for more than 10 seconds.
YouTube is still the king of video, but Facebook’s new changes may make it a more competitive option for digital marketers.
So which platform should win your video advertising budget? Let’s break down each platform to really figure out which takes the lead for your business…
What’s In a View?
Facebook’s announcement comes at an important time for the social network. Since last year…
Facebook claims its daily video views have quadrupled from 1 billion views per day to more than 4 billion, roughly equivalent to YouTube’s video traffic.
But even though that’s impressive growth, a Facebook view is not equal to a YouTube view. Until this announcement, Facebook counted a “view” once a video played for more than 3 seconds, or as soon as an ad showed up in a user’s news feed.
Since these ads were often auto-played without sound, Facebook’s video ad formats haven’t resonated with many marketers.
Facebook’s expansion of its view parameters and video content channels should definitely grab new attention. However, if you’re looking for reliable reporting and higher viewership, YouTube delivers a wealth of actionable data that Facebook rarely matches.
Ad Formats and Pricing
Marketers should take Facebook’s pricing change as a sign that it’s heavily invested in making video ads a success on the network. Even though its ads are still auto-played (typically without sound), Facebook has shown it is willing to work with marketers to build a mutually valuable advertising platform.
Of course, it has a long way to go to catch up with YouTube, which offers nearly a dozen video ad formats and a handful of pricing options, plus a video catalog that grows at about an hour each second… Whoa.
Despite YouTube’s lead in video, Facebook’s changes start to make it an all-inclusive ad network: sponsored content, display ads, news feed ads and a competitive video ad offering.
Facebook may have some catching up to do, but it’s working fast to do so.
Finding Your Audience
The real question for marketers is, “Where should I spend my advertising budget?” It leaves a lot of us feeling like this…
But the answer lies with the audience you want to reach.
At a glance, Facebook and YouTube provide similar opportunities for marketers.
At 1.44 billion, Facebook’s global audience is slightly larger than YouTube’s 1 billion. Americans spend roughly 40 minutes per day on Facebook, and they spend about 40 minutes per mobile session on YouTube.
While platforms provide valuable access to potential customers, marketers need to consider what they’re advertising and who their target audience is.
If your ad content resonates well amongst content shared with friends and family, Facebook makes sense. If it’s sheer entertainment or might interest an audience looking for informational content, YouTube ads might be a better investment.
Choosing a Winner
So, should YouTube be alarmed at the rise of Facebook video? Yes. And you can bet they’re strategizing on how to slow Facebook’s momentum.
Facebook’s quick strides in advertising prove it capable of monetizing its user base. By diversifying its content offerings and expanding its base of content creators, Facebook offers new opportunities for marketers. And that’s awesome!
That being said, YouTube is a platform geared specifically toward sharing and monetizing video content. It has powerful search and suggestions, dedicated users, invested advertisers and – most importantly for marketers (cough, cough) – content creators.
Facebook is a crowded social network that flips and flops in its efforts to provide users with the content they want, but it is showing its dedication to create a valuable video platform. To a lot of businesses, that goes a long way.
When choosing between Facebook and YouTube for video advertising, it all comes down to your audience. Consider the content you’re creating and how your audience operates on each platform.
Even though Facebook may have some challenges to overcome, its new options are certainly worth watching. Let us know which one you’re leaning toward below!
Mike Cushing is a writer for the Social Media online master’s degree program from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He’s an avid writer and always looking for ways to connect with new audiences.