What You May Not Know about Facebook Video

August 3, 2015

A little more than a year ago, Facebook launched its own video platform, and Facebook video has been on the rise ever since.


In fact, many people (such as writers at Business Insider and Socialbakers) have predicted that Facebook will soon overshadow YouTube, the giant of internet video.

This is, of course, exactly what Facebook wants.

The media giant, however, may be playing dirty in order to overtake its competition. While some brands have been more than happy to take advantage of the popularity of Facebook video, others, such as YouTube creator Hank Green, are critical of the way Facebook is developing its video platform.

The following concerns come from Green and seem to be shared by many who make their careers out of video.


Facebook promotes native videos over YouTube videos


This may come as no surprise, but Facebook distinctly favors videos uploaded directly to Facebook rather than videos embedded from elsewhere, such as YouTube or Vine.


It’s a not-so-subtle strategy to encourage users to use Facebook’s native video platform. And it’s effective because it makes a big difference. A study at Duke University found that a video uploaded directly to Facebook had about 5.6 times the reach and 4.1 times the views as a YouTube video shared on Facebook. As a marketer, it’s important to know that native Facebook videos will likely get significantly more views.

If you monitor video analytics, view count is probably the most important. If you’re posting videos on Facebook, however, you may want to take the view count with a grain of salt. In their metrics, Facebook defines a view as a view of 3 or more seconds. At the 3 second mark, many users could better be described as scrolling than as actively watching.


YouTube, on the other hand (according to Green) typically counts a view at around the 30 second mark. To improve their analytics, Facebook recently added a 30-second view counter. As a marketer, you’ll want to pay attention to this new metric, as well as stats about retention, in addition to Facebook’s basic view count, in order to get a more accurate picture of your viewership.



An example of Facebook video metrics


For the average user or marketer, the competition between Facebook and Youtube isn’t personal.

In the long term however, it may affect how we use and watch videos.

For more information, you can read Hank Green’s article on Medium or read Facebook’s recent post about video metrics.


Written by content manager Meghan Woolley

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