Last year, Mark Zuckerberg told shareholders that Facebook was changing its strategy from mobile first to video first, and the company seems to have followed through. With more than 1.9 billion monthly users globally, Facebook accounted for over 48% of total video views in L2’s study, the highest among the three major video platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook). Brands in L2’s 2017 video study have collectively received 18.8 million views on Facebook compared to 14.8 million on YouTube and 5.2 million on Instagram.
This has created some pressure for YouTube, which is creating new products to lure more brands to advertise on its platform. Attempting to change how brands think about digital video ads, the platform announced it was doing away with its non-skippable 30-second spots and offering six-second to 20-second bumper instead. Additionally, YouTube is foraying into TV with an OTT (over the-top) service that offers a package of channels for a monthly fee of $35 – spelling even more opportunities for advertisers.
While advertisers may be tempted to abandon YouTube effort in favor of Facebook because of its vast reach and high view rate, they should note that YouTube still has many advantages. YouTube has traditionally excelled at storytelling, and its format allows brands to create successful branded series. YouTube videos are also viewed longer – 65 seconds vs. just 15 seconds on Facebook.
YouTube also offers better organic reach. Brand videos had a 19% organic view rate in Q1 2017 compared to 7% on Facebook. The best-performing brand on Facebook, Rolex, obtain just 27% of their views organically whereas brands like Red Bull have received up to 45% of their views organically.