nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Higher creator volatility, weak discovery at Facebook gives YouTube the edge

Data from Tubular shows just how different Facebook and YouTube are as video platforms. These differences are impacting everything about the experience for both users and creators.

In its State of Online Video report for Q2 2017, Tubular reveals some key differences between YouTube and Facebook. These differences illustrate how the two social giants deliver very different experiences for both users and creators.

Facebook video creators shift more

While Facebook and YouTube are both evolving their video platforms, the changes are having a dramatic impact on creators. On YouTube and Facebook, new creators begin publishing every day, but very few of them become very popular. YouTube seems to be doing a better job of keeping the top creators at the top.

More than half (55%) of the top 1,000 creators on YouTube remained the same between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017. Facebook, on the other hand, only managed to retain 32% of the top 1,000 over the same period. In other words, more top creators find YouTube to be a better home in the long-term than Facebook.

Sponsored videos are a key Facebook advantage

While YouTube is doing a great job with creators, Facebook is the place to be for brands. According to Tubular, there were 5-times more sponsored videos on Facebook than YouTube in June 2017. At that time, YouTube had 438M sponsored videos while Facebook had 2.2B.  Facebook showed a +258% increase in sponsored views and a +311% increase in sponsored uploads between April 2016 to June 2017. YouTube, on the other hand, saw 99% and 39% increases respectively.

Though social users spend much time watching sponsored videos, they prefer other content types.

Genre viewing differences of Facebook and YouTube

There are some fundamental differences in the way people consume content on Facebook and YouTube. Most obvious is the fact that YouTube is a social video platform while Facebook is a social platform with video. Simply put, video is not the primary reason people visit Facebook.

The most popular genres by views on Facebook during Q2 2017 were Entertainment (39%), People & Blogs (14%), and General Interest (17%). The genres showing the biggest increases in the share of views were kids entertainment (+43%) and education (+32%). Family & parenting and news & politics showed the largest decreases.

YouTube has a much more diverse range of genres. The largest one was music and dance with 26% of video views, followed general interest and kid’s entertainment animation. The genres enjoying the biggest increases from 2016 were food & drink and sports.

Differences in discovery

Facebook and YouTube may both offer social video to their users, but how they discover what to watch is very different between them.

Facebook has been a volatile area for video. There have been many changes to its video platform. For example, the creation of the Watch tab, changes to its discovery algorithm and emphasis on posts from friends and family over brands. The many changes could be why Facebook is seeing such a big change in its creator leaderboard when compared to YouTube. YouTube has also made changes to its search and discovery algorithm. However, its video strategy has remained essentially the same since it changed its algorithm to value watch time over the number of views.

YouTube allows users to discover videos through search and it also recommends content through its suggested videos feed. Facebook allows users to discover video through its Watch tab, though the popularity of the feature with creators and viewers is questionable. Most videos, however, are discovered by a user scrolling through their Facebook news feed. Perhaps the more dynamic discovery process on YouTube accounts for the diversity of top video genres viewed on the platform. Simply put, it is easier to discover new content types on YouTube. Notwithstanding the differences in the discovery process, kids content is very popular on both platforms.

These are just a few of YouTube and Facebook’s differences. You can learn more by downloading the Tubular report. Check back with nScreenMedia as we continue to report on the latest social video data.


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