The Video Wars: Facebook Native Video Takes on Youtube

Even if you’re just a casual Facebook user, you’ve probably noticed that as of late your Facebook newsfeed has been featuring more videos that play automatically as you scroll through. In the coming months, you’ll likely see more and more of these as Facebook makes a big push to surpass Youtube as the favorite place to upload and share videos online.
One impressive statistic to consider is that Facebook is now up to 4 billion video views per day, which is the same number of daily views Youtube had through 2012. It’s all a part of a new strategy on Facebook’s part to try to take away some of Youtube’s market share and draw in content creators and advertisers to its own platform rather than sending them over to Youtube anytime someone wants to watch a video. Facebook is already an extremely popular way to share videos—why not also host the videos and become an entire video ecosystem?
Back in December of 2014, Facebook started to autoplay videos in newsfeeds as a way to catch the attention of users. Now, it has taken the next step. As of a few days ago, when you try to paste the link to a Youtube video into a post, Facebook displays a message that says:
“Consider uploading your video directly to Facebook. People are more likely to view native videos, and you’ll be able to track your success in Page Insights.”
This is a pretty bold move and it’s aimed directly at converting Youtube users. And Facebook’s video engagement statistics are nothing to sneeze at—for those brands that are already active on Facebook and have a loyal following, native Facebook video actually makes a lot of sense.
Here are some of the basics you need to know about Facebook native video and how to use it:

  1. Facebook prioritizes native video in its newsfeeds, so including such a video will likely get you to the top of your followers’ feeds.
  2. Native video catches the eyes of users, since it automatically starts playing as they scroll through their feed. That’s why native videos reportedly account for 80% of video engagement metrics on Facebook, with links to Youtube videos taking the remaining 20%.
  3. Facebook counts 3 seconds of continuous play as a video “view”, and users who go back to watch a video count as a separate view for that video. This is different from Youtube, which only counts unique views.
  4. Last November was the tipping point, when more videos started to be directly embedded on Facebook rather than linked to from Youtube.
  5. While Youtube users don’t have to be logged in to watch videos, Facebook users are by definition logged in to be able to view their feed. This gives Facebook the ability to log a lot more metrics than Youtube about who watches its videos, and provides better targeting options to advertisers.
  6. Native advertising in general has shown great ROI, and is forecasted to more than triple by 2019.
  7. Facebook videos are embeddable on other platforms, like blogs or websites, just like Youtube videos are.

So, whether you’re a seasoned video creator or are just starting to think about making your first video, you owe it to yourself to consider Facebook as a viable central location for uploading and sharing your content.
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