Why YouTube Might Not Be Your Best Bet for Video
By Karen Geier
A few months ago, Facebook changed the way its platform handles video. Now videos auto-play in your timeline. This seemed like a minor shift (and for some on limited data plans at the beginning, a big inconvenience), but only now are we realizing the magnitude of the change. According to eMarketer, one sixth of the average internet user’s web time is spent viewing video. Clearly, we’re enamored with the medium.
Traditional wisdom used to be that brands placed video on YouTube due to its role as the number-two search engine by traffic and its unique discoverability, meaning your branded video could be placed next to a competitor’s video without you paying for position. That wisdom may have to be set aside in the wake of new numbers emerging from Facebook.
Facebook recently told TechCrunch that it serves over one billion video views a day. This announcement trails news advertisers shifting budgets from YouTube.
Add those numbers to the fact that Facebook is where the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gained most of its viral lift, and you can see that Facebook is coming for YouTube, and given Facebook’s ubiquity and stickiness, it may become a contender for YouTube’s throne.
How can you make this work for your brand?
How to Know Whether Facebook or Another Video Solution is Right for You
A video strategy rarely solely favors one channel, but knowing which channels to prioritize can save you time and effort in service of the best distribution. It’s important to know what the leading video hosting companies do best, and what they might fall down on.
YouTube: Still the gold standard for wide distribution. Sheer ubiquity is the reason you should be on YouTube. If that isn’t reason enough, the search engine optimization boost and easy sharing and embedding tools for viewers can help your videos spread quickly, even without spending ad dollars.
YouTube also has high stumble traffic due to its “related videos” feature and excellent analytics (which you can seamlessly add to your funnel on Google analytics).
Vimeo: Vimeo succeeds where its competitors don’t on quality and unobtrusiveness. If having beautifully displayed videos is important to you, at the expense of discoverability, then choose Vimeo (or at least mirror your videos on Vimeo so aesthetes can share those links).
Facebook: The newest contender. Facebook has learned from the industry leaders and has a workable set of analytics. It displays the number of views right in the timeline for administrators of a page and lets you see more detail including when a viewer abandoned a video (and the average length someone watches your videos), which are valuable bits of information. Facebook also has over 1.2 billion users, many of which log on every day. It’s hard to argue with those numbers.
You can combine these channels as you see fit (or test them against each other to see which one works best for you).
Defining Success Metrics
It’s important to note what can be tracked with Facebook before you set expectations for your video’s success.
Through Facebook you can measure:
- Total views: the total number of times your video was seen
- Unique views: the total number of times your video was seen by unique individuals
- Video Views to %: how many viewers watched your video to completion or less – useful for spotting patterns or addressing video length issues
- Demographic Data: who liked or didn’t like your video by age, gender and location
- Additional Paid Insights: additional metrics such as clicks and cost-per-action (if you paid to promote your video)
Select a few metrics that best reflect your ultimate goals with your video. Base your success on how well it performs in these areas.
Preparing Your Video for Facebook Distribution
You can upload your video to Facebook in a number of formats, but for best results, aim for with H.264 video with AAC audio in MOV or MP4 format. This is a default if you are using iMovie, but other video editing software should have similar specs for output.
Make sure you prepare a good title, description, and hashtags for your video. This is one of the times where hashtags on Facebook could help your video be discovered within Facebook and also in search engine results. It doesn’t hurt to include up to five hashtags.
Consider boosting your post even if only for a day to make sure it has a chance of getting a tipping point of reach.
Facebook’s newest trend is video and it has the potential to be a killer application for brands. With a little bit of planning and attention to a few key technical issues, you can effectively and quickly add video to your social media strategy.