Where am I better off putting my videos? Facebook or Youtube?

Simon Pilkington

February 22, 2021

Simon Pilkington

February 22, 2021

First and foremost, if you’ve created some video content for your brand, then you’re already on the right path.  Video has been the number one social media trend of the past years, but many businesses are still playing catch up.

After going to the trouble of creating your video content in the first place, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t upload it to both Facebook and Youtube. It takes minutes and each platform has unique advantages, which will soon become apparent.

However each platform is quite different, and while there is of course overlap between the content, different types of videos are better suited to different platforms.

Facebook video vs. Youtube platform usage?

According to a survey in December 2020 Facebook had slightly more traffic in Australia with 16.5 million visitors per month, compared to 16 million on Youtube.

On average users spend around 38 minutes on Facebook per day while users are estimated to watch 1 billion hours of video per day on Youtube, which evens out at around 8 minutes per day per user.  While Youtube is solely serving up video content, Facebook increasingly gears it’s newsfeed towards it too, meaning that a sizeable chunk of those 38 minutes is likely spent watching videos.

Both user bases are impressive, and are the top two platforms in Australia, so it’s likely that you will find a big enough audience, with unique users on both.

Statistically the platforms start to diverge when you compare the type of video content. With Facebook videos have been proven to be most successful when they are 20 - 40 seconds long.

Youtube creators are recommended to shoot videos of at least 3 minutes for best results on the platform. And despite the lower average daily viewing times (averaged over a year) the average mobile session on Youtube can be 40 minutes.

So what’s the takeaway from all this data?

Youtube favours longer videos, of at least 3 minutes, as users are willing to engage with long form content.

Facebook creators should be focussed on short "snackable" content ideally from 20 - 40 seconds (think those life hack videos we all secretly love). Plus it has to stand out on the platform on a newsfeed loaded with other content.

How long is your video content?

Search intent vs. demographic targeting

Unlike Facebook, Youtube is essentially a search engine.  In fact it’s the second largest search engine after Google.  This means that the way your content is discovered on the platform is not quite the same as social sharing.

Like other search engines, Youtube is keyword based so users discover your content based on typing specific searches into their device. This opens up a whole different channel of traffic for your brand.

Facebook is based on your social network (duh) with ads focussed mostly on demographic targeting. In a nutshell it’s all about connecting with communities, and building relationships and engagements with those fans.

The key difference is that users who discover you when typing a keyword into their browser often have an easily identifiable intent at the point of that search.

For example if a user types in “buy dog toys” into their search engine, and are shown your video promoting your brand, then you have a pretty good idea that the user is in the market for some dog toys.  The downside of this is that those high intent clicks and views tend to be more expensive on the ad market.

To understand more about search intent, check out this great video from Moz's Rand Fishkin.


On Facebook you can show your video content to users who are likely to be pet owners, who might be interested in competitive brands, but you have no way of knowing that your video will show to a new customer at the moment when they are looking specifically to buy.

Facebook loves video content as it keeps users engaged and on platform. Therefore they tend to reward advertisers with lots of reach for a comparatively low spend to other ad formats.

The takeaway?

Youtube is a search engine and therefore keyword based, so it’s easier to identify the users intent at the time of the search.  But running ads can be pricey.

Facebook is better for targeting demographics and connecting to a specific community. Great for building brand awareness and seeding your brand into new audiences. In terms of exposure, it can be great bang for your buck.

Organic reach

Remember the good old days when your Facebook posts would flood the newsfeed with your blatant advertising creative 10 times per day without spending a penny?  Sadly those days are over.

Facebook has been pushing branded content steadily further to be reliant on the advertising platform.  Viral reach is becoming more competitive, and with what seems like half the world’s population becoming some kind of influencer, we can’t rely on the algorithm to give our video content a boost.

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, with some viral videos exploding across your feed, but this content is rarely commercial in nature.

Thankfully the demographic targeting options have also developed and it’s possible to hone in on your audience through carefully targeted ads rather than relying on a lucky strike to get that sensational video. 

Facebook does offer a unique approach to video content with the ephemeral “stories”. This more informal approach allows you to keep connecting with your audience on a daily basis, with casual content.

Youtube on the other hand does still offer excellent organic reach. By creating keyword rich videos with captions, descriptions and targeting the right topics, it’s possible to methodically grow a following with your content alone on the platform.

 

As mentioned above, it’s crucial to identify the search intent behind your top keywords and create relevant content, but there’s no doubt that this is the platform where your search engine optimised video content should live.

The takeaway is…

Youtube is the channel for search engine optimisation. You should create keyword focused content that drives traffic from specific queries to your site, add keyword rich descriptions and titles to your videos.

On Facebook there’s not so much need to focus on discovery through keywords and search. It’s about standing out with those viral hit videos, and sharing content in a more casual way (think Facebook/Instagram stories) to keep the conversation going.

Other platform features

Youtube doesn’t offer much other than video. It does one thing and does it well, but don’t expect to do a whole lot more than posting your content, pushing your call to action and replying to comments.

Facebook on the other hand offers a whole world of opportunity. Being so tightly integrated with other features such as your business page, messenger for customer service, live video and community groups, means that once you have hooked your users with your video content, there are a load of other ways to keep them coming back.

Combine that with an evergreen funnel marketing strategy, using dynamic remarketing ads, and you are creating a customer relationship with multiple touch points from the offset. Despite Youtube’s long attention spans and high intent traffic, it’s difficult to compete with that kind of multi-faceted engagement.

The takeaway…

Facebook is a richer platform with multiple touch points for your audience. Combining your video content with other content formats like stories or reels, direct messaging, content and ad remarketing helps to keep your brand’s connection with your audience fresh and authentic.

 

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