Did Facebook just overtake YouTube as the de facto site for video advertisers?

Marketing Tech’s editor has more than a decade of editorial experience spanning computing, performance marketing and, currently, enterprise digital strategy. Simon’s career began in print, where he edited the news section of business computing title PC Plus and contributed to a variety of other special interest titles, including MacFormat and Computer Arts. He then made the transition to digital journalism, joining PerformanceIN where he covered a sector of the marketing industry where advertisers only pay on a performance basis. Most recently, Simon became editor at TechForge Media where he manages the editorial strategy of Marketing Tech and the company portfolio’s newest launch Connected Car.


Videos were only introduced to Facebook in the third quarter of last year, but according to socialbakers there has been some serious movement towards this medium as ad objectives evolve.

While page likes become less important to advertisers, video is grasping a higher proportion of budgetary spend. Data from socialbakers puts embedded news-feed video at 5% despite it being available for such a small period of time on Facebook.

It is easy to see why too, with socialbakers discovering that video beats all other post types for organic reach. Status updates had 5.8% compared to video’s 8.7%, whereas links and photos could manage just 3.7% and 5.3% respectively.

It is not just Facebook that YouTube has been facing competition from either. Video technology platforms are looking to eat into YouTube’s significant market share too, with recent research showing that pre-roll ads are not the effective media proposition they once were.

‘Missing the larger picture’

Socialbakers has been measuring the number of video posts on all of the major movie-sharing sites and the results are unexpected. YouTube’s dominance might be wavering, with its share steadily declining since early 2014.

Facebook has been doing a lot to ensure the viewability of videos, but Ian Monaghan, ad ops manager at TubeMogul, insists that highlighting comparisons with Google “misses the larger point of what’s happening in video”.

“Video is everywhere. Viewers watch TV shows on their tablets, YouTube videos on their phones, news clips on their computers. They read articles and watch videos on thousands of websites,” he said.

“Add all of that up and you realise that Facebook exists in a diverse landscape of broadcasters, media companies, video sites, long tail publishers and more.”

From app installs to video views

Meanwhile Facebook is making significant gains. Its own share of video posts has been on an upwards trajectory ever since the start of 2014 and in October last year the social network actually overtook YouTube.

Video is not the only fast mover on ad spend, mobile app installs have also been climbing. Together, the growth in mobile app installs and video views mean that mobile native videos are going to see real value in social media advertising this year.

Monaghan predicts that the future landscape will not consist of one video provider that rules them all, instead he believes that different sites will eventually offer different audience demographics to advertisers in a similar way to today’s broadcast television model.

“The battle is not Facebook versus YouTube. The battle will always be to find the right platform for the right market, monitor whether the video is being watched and then adjust and adjust again to optimise results.”

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