You’ve seen it all over the headlines: Facebook video views are catching up to YouTube. In the last year alone, Facebook had 1.4 billion monthly active users compared to YouTube’s 1.3 billion. Although the difference is minor, the recent growth rate for Facebook video has risen dramatically; the reach Facebook has seen in native video views within the year is astounding. Facebook’s video platform launched just over a year ago, whereas YouTube launched a decade ago. Ampere found that 15% of Internet users across North America and Western Europe had watched a video on Facebook in the last month, and a sixth of those people had not watched a video on YouTube in that same time span. It seems the king of online video has finally met its match. YouTube is no longer the only major video platform.
It’s predicted that by the end of 2015, Facebook will have 2 trillion video views. That’s two-thirds as many as YouTube. And what’s more, Ampere determined that Facebook is more profitable than YouTube. Marketing Land wrote the following:
“Facebook’s challenge to YouTube is showing strength. Based on similar totals of monthly active users on the two networks, Ampere found that advertisers value Facebook inventory at a higher rate, $0.73 per MAU for Facebook vs. $0.28 for YouTube. That’s despite the fact that Facebook charges advertisers for views as short as three seconds in its autoplay environment while YouTube only charges when people view a view for about 30 seconds.”
Why is Facebook the preferred video advertising method? Even though Facebook charges advertisers after such a short view time, Facebook is ideal for content marketers before the launch of a product for creating brand awareness. That’s because Facebook videos are getting more likes and shares on the social network site compared to YouTube videos. Nonetheless, YouTube is still more advertiser friendly since the ads can be shown anytime during a video view. YouTube also has the feature TrueView, which allows users to skip an ad after only five seconds. It’s shown to be extremely effective, as advertisers don’t pay for a video if it’s skipped.
Even though Facebook lacks in some areas of video advertising, the company is looking ahead to the next market trend: mobile advertising. The Cisco index predicated that nearly three-fourths of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2019. Mobile advertising is an enormous market that many advertisers have yet to tap in to. Facebook debuted its vision for mobile ads at Cannes Lions on Tuesday, June 23. It’s an intriguing idea and one that is a smart move for the company. Re/code wrote the following about Facebook’s mobile potential:
“Facebook’s future is mobile — it already has more than half a billion people whose only interaction with Facebook each month comes from a mobile device — and it’s giving marketers a hand in designing the very ad units the company will be selling them in a few months. Not a bad move… Of course, Facebook will also be tasked with walking the line between advertiser wants and user happiness. Users are rarely fond of advertising — although with Facebook the issue tends to be targeting more than anything — and it’ll be up to Facebook to ensure whatever ads they create strike the right balance.”
Despite Facebook’s video success, the company still has a long way to go when it comes to video advertising. Facebook does not offer pre-roll ads. Pre-roll ads are the commercials that appear prior to an online video. If Facebook wants to remain competitive with YouTube the company will eventually have to incorporate these ads, which would allow for a more advertiser friendly format.
So just how fast has Facebook video grown within the past year? Business Insider UK compiled data about the state of social video from Socialbakers and found that brands have virtually stopped posting YouTube videos on Facebook. Beforehand Facebook native video launched just over a year ago, brands did publish their YouTube videos on Facebook. Last year, YouTube was the dominant video platform on Facebook. As you can see, that’s no longer the case.
While YouTube may not be the king it once was, it’s still the leading platform for online video. Although a Google exec said YouTube isn’t worried about Facebook’s native video expansion, the company must realize the threat Facebook poses. Still, YouTube is the second largest search engine thanks to Google, a feat not to be dismissed. But while YouTube is still in a strong position overall, Facebook and other video platforms are giving YouTube a run for its money. So what is the future of video advertising? Only time will tell.
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