Native Video: The Major Players & Why YouTube Should Be Scared

Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. Every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Every month, 1 billion unique visitors are watching content on the site.  

Marketers are well aware of video’s impact. In fact, 72% of them used YouTube to market their business in 2014. But, has YouTube’s fame phased out with the evolution of native video launched by Twitter and Facebook? As brands and companies evolve their content marketing strategy, YouTube may have a reason to be scared.

The Impact of Facebook and Twitter Video

It’s too early to know what the economic impact of Facebook and Twitter’s video product means to video, but it’s clear that these new products give marketers new choices in which to distribute their videos. Now, instead of embedding the YouTube code on your site to play video natively within your content, marketers can use Facebook’s code as well.

Why Does It Matter?

Why does it matter where you publish your video?  As the second largest search engine in the world with 3 billion searches per month, it’s clear why YouTube has been the video network of choice for quite some time.  Even so, brands and marketers climb an uphill battle to get their video content viewed, and more importantly, shared.

Facebook’s native video means one very important thing: more eyeballs.

Related Article: Play It Right: Keys to a Successful Online Video Launch

Facebook’s Power Play

Though the option to share video via the social network has been available for some time, Facebook has recently put more of their eggs into the video basket. First, they made algorithm changes that gave more visibility to videos published on Facebook. This change not only gave preferential reach to videos on Facebook, it also downgraded the reach of videos from third-party platforms (i.e. YouTube).

Brands and publishers immediately glommed onto this reach-enhancing shift; Buzzfeed even published their video featuring President Obama on Facebook instead of YouTube. Digiday shared the insight that “as of November [2014], native Facebook videos accrued 80 percent of total interactions on the platform’s video posts, leaving just 20 percent for YouTube and other video formats, according to social media analytics startup Socialbakers.”

native Facebook videos accrued 80 percent of total interactions on the platform’s video posts, leaving just 20 percent for YouTube and other video formats

On March 25, Facebook used their F8 developer conference to announce that videos published within their platform would now have the ability to be embedded elsewhere on the web.

With the one-two punch of increased organic reach and embeddable video, Facebook is now a threat to YouTube’s monopoly on the video game.

Twitter: Not to Be Outdone

Twitter has long supported the sharing of video. Their 6-second, viral video-making machine, Vine, still has a strong foothold in the market, and their newest addition, Periscope, allows users to live broadcast to their Twitter feed. On top of these efforts, Twitter will soon be expanding its video capabilities to native.

As reported in TechCrunch, “The Twitter Video Player will host videos of up to 10 minutes with no limit on file size, initially supporting mp4 and mov files. There will be no ability to edit videos or schedule them within the player; at least in its first iteration. And, pointedly, the Twitter Video Player will not support videos hosted on YouTube or anywhere else, just those on its own service.”

Twitter continues to look for ways to reach new users and re-engage current users as their numbers have begun to decline. Beyond that, the focus is on expanding their advertising product suite.

Related Article: Seeing is Believing: How to Use Web Videos to Improve Your Bottom Line

What Does It All Mean for YouTube?

To be clear, the assumption that native video on Facebook or Twitter will kill YouTube is incorrect. YouTube is a destination for video, and the engaged users within the platform are not going to jump ship to Facebook or Twitter anytime soon, if not for any reason other than discovery.

What’s most important to note, though, is that views and metrics are looked at differently on each platform and therefore cannot be compared side-by-side.

As reported in Digiday, “Facebook, which autoplays videos in the news feed, counts three seconds of viewership as a view. And if you go back and watch that video again, that’s another view. For YouTube to register a view, you need to actively click (or tap) play on a video. And if you return to it later (on the same connection), YouTube won’t add to the video’s total view count.”

For marketers, this seemingly subtle difference is actually glaring, and will aid in maintaining YouTube’s value and relevance.

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