Facebook Videos vs YouTube Links: Which Gets Higher Engagement?

Facebook Videos vs YouTube Links: Which Gets Higher Engagement? image

Videos are one of the most shared post types by brands on Facebook. Since they are very popular with the users, they have the potential to become viral, to create buzz, and build high brand awareness.

Find the latest data on sharing videos on Facebook vs. YouTube:

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As you know, Page admins have two options when posting videos: to either upload them from computers natively via Facebook or to post a link to your videos on YouTube. According to our study, most page admins choose to do the latter. They posted 3 684 YouTube links compared to 458 Facebook videos towards the end of January (from January 22nd to January 27th 2013).

Videos Are Usually Liked, not Shared

Although YouTube links have been posted about 8 times more than Facebook videos, it’s surprising to see that both of these options generated a similar number of interactions and mainly a similar share of Likes, Comments and Shares, as you can see in the graph below. Also notice that Likes were the most frequent type of interaction (not Shares) and that Facebook videos generated double the amount of Comments that YouTube links did. Why do you think this is the case? Let us know in the comments section below!

And What About Engagement?

To our surprise, Facebook videos achieved a 40% higher Engagement Rate (0,25%) than YouTube links (0,151%) in the studied period. They could be performing better because they are not only limited to Facebook posts; they are also available in the Fan Page video gallery where users can interact with the videos whenever they feel like it. In addition, Facebook videos are easier to consume on mobile, because you can play them directly from the mobile newsfeed; you don’t have to be redirected to YouTube, which can even fail due to connectivity issues.

But there are a number of advantages whichever path you choose.

The Benefits of YouTube Links

  • YouTube is the most popular video-sharing website that can aggregate, not only your videos, but also data concerning its views and shares.
  • You can share the YouTube link anywhere that supports your online exposure, unlike Facebook videos which cannot be shared outside of the social network.

The Benefits of Facebook Videos

  • Your Facebook fans can be tagged in the video.
  • Your Facebook videos suggest that users Like your Page via a button directly in the video.

Which option do you prefer and why? Are Facebook videos suitable for the needs of businesses or are they intended for casual, personal rather than for content creators?

Also check out if shortened URL links work better than the longer ones on Facebook in on our study here!

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  • Nate Gee

    I am honestly surprised by these findings and by the question itself. In my experience, Facebook MP4s go viral with a lot less resistance than YouTube videos.

    Fan pages with the largest following and engagement rarely post YouTube videos, and the reason it simple: They do not perform as well as Facebook video.

    I do not recall seeing nearly as many viral YouTube videos on Facebook as opposed to an MP4 version of the video. The shareability is a lot more fluid, and as in some of the YouTube videos, they take you off-site onto the YouTube page.

    Facebook > YouTube on the Facebook platform.

    You don't have to take my word for it - the results speak for themselves.

  • Combination of the two can be great.

  • "Veronika Fuleova (Social Media Analyst at Socialbakers.com) Michiel, it is not possible to see how many times a video has been viewed directly in Facebook Insights, but you can export the data with this info. Thank you for flagging this to us!
    - Social Media Analyst at Socialbakers"

    Incorrect: you can view how many times a video has been viewed directly in Facebook by clicking on "Engaged users?" Its shows Video Plays, Other Clicks, Link Clicks and Stories Generated. Great article though.

  • Mark Wilson

    Great article! This issue has troubled me for some time. Thank you for the solid info. I go the YouTube route based mostly on speculation. Here are some considerations I would like to add to the discussion.

    First, I'm betting Facebook videos get more impressions to Facebook users than YouTube shares on Facebook. Since Facebook controls the limited amount of post we actually see in our feed, I'm confident they promote their own videos a little more.

    Second, if I post it on YouTube I get more online "credit." This way my videos are not only on Facebook (shared) they are also on YouTube... and that's a big increase in potential audience. Also, I expect that videos on (Google's) YouTube get much better SEO and proliferation in all search engines (again, it should still get the Facebook SEO benefits since it is shared there).

    Third, I can promote YouTube videos to everyone, not just people with Facebook accounts.

    Fourth, my Facebook videos seem to get compressed to lower quality. (This may be a "user error," but I don't know.)

    Therefore, to me YouTube is just easier in the long run with "probably" more passive global SEM benefits. If my reasoning is not sound, someone please enlighten me.


  • Veronika Fuleova

    No problem Dino ;) We updated the article according to your feedback - we appreciate it!

  • Dino Karadza

    Thank you Veronika and sorry for my impatience :(. Interesting numbers which will probably open some new topics. Post less videos and tag your fans to reach higher engagemnt bu then you are staying only on facebook with you message and not spreading it through other social vehicles.
    Will have an eye on more of this but please if you can share numbers together with shares for easier understanding.

  • I use Socialcam and use that to post to Twitter, FB and YouTube. I'd be interested in how these numbers compare.

  • Veronika Fuleova

    Hi Dino, thanks for your comment. Let's make it clearer for you. The graph in the article only shows the share of interactions they generated. And there´s really a similar trend in absolute numbers as you can see here: 458 Facebook videos received: 1 153 105 Likes (79%), 166 841 Shares (10%), 102 364 Comments (12%) and they generated 1 422 310 interactions in total. While 3 684 YouTube links got: 1 217 588 Likes (82%), 175 440 Shares (12%), 103 732 Comments (6%), and altogether received 1 496 760 interactions.

    We monitored all the brands we have in our database to eliminate any deviations caused by factors like special events or specific content.

  • Dino Karadza

    So basically all of them got an answer for their comments and you did not make any comments on my post which means I am right with my points and this graph is useless and spread confusion among the community which will start to use FB videos as they get more likes,shares etc...

    Every user is potential consumer and WOM carrier but it seems that you just do not care as I am tiny person in your huge business :(

    Thank you.

  • Veronika Fuleova

    Hi Dave, sounds like a promising approach, but in the realm of social media, since the variables are consistently changing, we would need the most sterile conditions and focus groups for that which could in fact, distort the facts. Thank you for your feedback though, we appreciate it!

  • Veronika Fuleova

    Scott, you are right – a thorough study would certainly take more than five days. We are currently working on a more in-depth report which will also cover the reach of different post types (photos, videos, links etc.) and this was just a snapshot that we found interesting. Stay tuned for the full report!

  • Veronika Fuleova

    Genevieve, we are planning to conduct a study on reach of different Facebook post types very soon and we can also look at the reach of Facebook videos vs. YouTube links so stay tuned ;)

  • Veronika Fuleova

    Michiel, it is not possible to see how many times a video has been viewed directly in Facebook Insights, but you can export the data with this info. Thank you for flagging this to us!
    - Social Media Analyst at Socialbakers

  • Dino Karadza

    I have so many negative comments on this post that I do not know where to start but please correct me if I am wrong.

    I will not start with a story I will just start with a simple math regarding your graph and your statement:
    "it’s surprising to see that both of these options generated a similar number of Likes, Comments and Shares, as you can see in the graph below. "

    On y-axis you have percentages not numbers so it is not similar number of likes it is similar share of likes, comments and shares. If we simplify the calculation:

    We start with projection that every video posted is total amount of likes, shares and comments. In total 4142 of all 6 types.
    3 684 YT shares and 458 FB shares, so FB shares have 11% of all shares in this period, right? (458/4142)*100=11%
    Graph says 80% likes for both YT and FB shares, almost the same, which is 2 947 likes for YT and 366 for FB videos, 3684*80%= 2947 and 458*80%=366;

    2 947 was much higher then 366 at least for me it was until now (but if we look at the period of comparison and do not know the number of pages included I still say much higher) and more surprisingly is that total number of likes for both videos is 3 313 which gets us to FB video like ratio of 11% which is exactly ratio of FB videos uploaded in this period.

    This is not exactly right math but it gets to my point, without stating the real numbers behind these shares this post of yours make no sense at all.

    You said in your post that 3 684 YT videos produced only the similar number of likes as 458 FB videos which I find most unlikely considering the difference between the post numbers?????

    They produced similar share of all 3 types.

    So please do back up this post with same numbers to have it more correctly but even then you did not raised questions in your post about:

    1. What kind of pages?
    2. What kind of content?
    3. Was there any potential special event during that period on the pages that you were monitoring.

    To not forget: CONTENT IS THE KING, as for most users FB link, Youtube link, shorten link is still the same link that leads them to quality content that they want to consume.

    Thank you and tell me I got this all wrong.

  • Dave Verzijl

    I'm not sure this is a good comparison as it does not give answer on the right question. You should compare videos that were same and were targeted spread to 50/50 on same usergroups.

  • Scott Ayres

    Not sure how scientific this study is. Probably needs to be a longer study than 5 days to get accurate info. FB videos likely got more comments because those were probably videos with content directly related to the page or product. While the YouTube shares could have been someone sharing a cat video or the Harlem shake..

  • I always upload to youtube and then post the link to it on my Facebook page.

  • Can you tell me how the method of uploading videos: Youtube versus Facebook affects Page reach?

  • "Facebook Insights won´t tell you how many times your video has been viewed, which is a huge disadvantage.". This is not true, in FB insights it is possible to see how many times your uploaded video has been watched.

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