Following on from Chris’s blog post about Facebook, I thought that I would follow up with some strategic business applications for our readers. Facebook is still a major component to any marketers arsenal, even with the constant strangling of audience reach, regular proof that paid ads collect a large number of fake likes and users, and my own personal opinion that at least 45% of the user base is just bots.
We as marketers will still make Facebook a centre point for campaigns. This may be because you can have an easy metric to show a client, or the client is very familiar with Facebook, and therefore, comfortable with the idea of advertising there. All that aside, Facebook will continue to innovate, continue to build an all encompassing platform, and for the next few years at least, be the centre point for advertisers, even if there are 40% of accounts which are fake, that still leaves 850 Million real users…
The battle between Facebook & Youtube
As most digital marketers are aware, Facebook has been changing the way that it virally shares a brands post for the last year or so, by strangling the viral reach of a post, it forces brands to have to pay to get their content seen by people. Even people that already like and interact with their page are not getting shown content. This is all to drive brands to spend, and really, it does make sense for Facebook to do that.
Now however Facebook are pushing video as a platform and they are pushing hard, with an emphasis on supporting technology that isn’t even consumer grade yet. They are betting heavily on their video platform and right now, I believe that there is a huge opportunity for brands here.
It stands to reason that Facebook, with its push into video, is going to want to make its platform and users very comfortable with the idea of using Facebook as their main video platform. The stat’s already show that video is a huge engagement vehicle already, and the brands have been falling in line pretty quickly.
To compare the data between native Facebook video (NFV) and Embedded YouTube Video (EYV) we can see that NFV preforms far better than YouTube. This is most likely down to the fact that NFV has an auto-play feature and the Facebook algorithm priorities video to make up 30% of the news feed. That algorithm will also be working hard to prioritise NFV over other video players like vine, Vimeo and Instagram as well. I am not sure if the same will be said for the live streaming apps such as Periscope and Meercat, as if their embedded features allow streaming to the embedded item, that will be keeping people on Facebook, and that is of course the goal.
YouTube of course is still going to be a, or THE major player in on-line video and I do not foresee them being knocked off their pastille unless there is a major design change to the way you can view, organise and search video on Facebook. Major brands such as Lego, Angry Birds, Nike, Samsung and Go pro all had massive increases in their viewership and subscriber levels during 2014, with Nike’s numbers almost doubling in that year alone, which is of course, no mean feat.
Brands are getting massive numbers viewing their content daily and Facebook videos are getting shared more on social media, even though only 5% of Facebook posts are videos! The most popular type of post on Facebook is still photos, which make up almost 71% of all posts, followed by links at 14% (I think most of that comes from the bot accounts that I spoke about earlier) then video, and lastly, status posts at a measly 3%.
What we as marketers don’t get information on is the stop rate, eg: the times that a user will stop in their feed to read the post, or text, and then move on. Unless a user likes, shares or comments on the post, it’s not counted as an engagement, but I believe that we should be measuring a stop rate as well. I came to this from the experience of running a page called Today we learn, which is a page that posts interesting facts about the world. I know many of the users personally, and what we found was that users enjoy reading the statuses that the page posts, but they do not like/share/comment on them. They stop in the feed, spend a few seconds reading, and then move on. I believe that this is an engagement and needs to be taken as a metric, but I do not see it shown anywhere.
So what we are seeing is a solid push from Facebook to grow their video content and push other providers out, reducing the visibility of YouTube videos and also not giving other video providers the fast auto-play functions that NFV has. But what does this mean for advertisers? As that is where the money is for Facebook! In 2013, YouTube links were promoted almost twice as much as NFV, now however that has changed a massive amount. Almost 4X as many NFV gets promoted over YouTube, and that is resulting of course, in far more interactions than YouTube, which is near on, 20% more across the board in the standard metrics.
This now leads us on to the jist of this article, why Facebook videos get shared more, meaning why NFV gets almost 12% more organic reach than YouTube which has only 5%, well, I believe that it is because Facebook is pushing that platform hard and allowing its videos to show in far more user feeds than other links. This is where all brands can capitalise for the time being, by using the fact that Facebook WANTS it’s videos to show in more feeds than other mediums. A brand can move its current Facebook strategy from post updates and links, and focus more on NFV.
Rather than writing a post and then just sharing it on Facebook, why not try to have that post put into video form, and then upload that? its going to get far more organic reach than just the standard post, and when you boost that post as well, you’re going to get the most value for your spend than any other medium.
What are the other brands doing?
Brands that have experienced the largest growth on Facebook in the last year, have either reduced their YouTube content on Facebook or stopped altogether. Gopro is now posting 70% of its videos direct to Facebook and the rest on YouTube, while sites like Buzzfeed have totally abandoned posting YouTube links on Facebook altogether. This is not to say that these brands are not using YouTube, they are, and some are increasing their presence there, what they are doing however, is finding that by posting that same content into Facebook directly, it is showing massive increases in reach and engagement because of this.
On other platforms, we are seeing very similar types of behaviours. Twitter for instance has its own video platform and users are uploading their videos directly to their platform. This ensures that the videos will gather far more organic reach and more value of the boosted spend than promoting links and videos from other platforms.
So in conclusion,
- Native Facebook Videos posts exceeded the number of YouTube videos shared on Facebook for the first time in November 2014.
- 354 Brands and media are posting much more on FNV, and then with promotion, seeing far more engagement than previously.
- YouTube is still a very valuable channel for brands and media, however, NFV, Twtter and Instagram are all eating into its share externally.
- Major brands are still expanding on YouTube, with increased viewership and solid subscriber growth.