Content Creators Flee From YouTube, Flock to Facebook for Videos

This just in: social media marketers have done more than just walked away from using YouTube for video content - they have sprinted. And where have they gone? Straight out of the grasp of Google and into the outstretched arms of Facebook.

Editor's Note: We've updated this study with the most compelling data on this subject. See what the latest news on Facebook and YouTube videos is.

One of the most interesting data pulls we have done in a long time shows that YouTube is coming under increasing pressure to maintain its status as the major distributor of video content. Marketers are increasingly turning to Facebook for video content – opting away from the YouTube-first, Facebook second approach that was so common.

Socialbakers analyzed over 180,000 Facebook video posts across 20,000 Facebook pages – here's what we found.

Back in 2012, marketers were not even considering alternative options for sharing video content on Facebook. The standard process was to create a video, publish it to YouTube and share it via Facebook. However, the recent trend is clearly showing that content marketers are directly uploading video content to Facebook, meaning that Facebook is retaining the traffic at the expense of YouTube.

Facebook and YouTube video on FB pages

At the beginning of 2014, YouTube clearly had the upper hand in regards to the share of number of video posts, nearly doubling that of the nearest contender. However, as the year progressed, we saw content marketers increasingly uploading videos to Facebook directly, with a 50% increase from May through July; and are trending to surpass YouTube by the end of the year.

We looked at the share of interactions amongst the 180,000 videos and the trend was obvious: The share of interactions increased for Facebook and decreased for YouTube. This is a serious threat to YouTube as marketers are going to continue to use the network that is most effective for gaining engagement. Basically, there are no signs of the trend reversing from its current path.

So what does this all mean? As Facebook has consistently outperformed YouTube in terms of driving views and engagement, content marketers have reacted and have switched to natively published Facebook videos. The subsequent result: YouTube is steadily losing a key distribution platform as content marketers are shifting to Facebook.

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  • Facebook views are fraudulent. Everything autoplays, so that doesn't mean people watched it. And the article also not mentioning why anybody who makes content for youtube for money would go to Facebook to show it for free to look cool.

  • Jason Keath

    I am not seeing any data here that shows marketers or brands leaving Youtube in droves. Seems sensational.

    Facebook video is very worthwhile for businesses. But there are completely different reasons for using it versus Youtube. The two platforms are complimentary, and neither is going away. Youtube is certainly not losing droves of accounts or video uploads.

    I would have liked to of seen a little deeper thinking on this article and the quasi stats used therein.

  • Owen Hemsath

    This is SO FAR from being scientific its almost like its intended to be a marketing piece. 180,000 videos? Which videos? By what brands? Are the brands even on Youtube? Do they have subscribers? Was there commercial intent? Do shares even matter for the brand? This survey is a puff piece designed to make Facebook "look cooler" than Youtube. Sad....

  • Carlos Pacheco

    What's interesting about the whole Facebook video phenomenom is how brands have embraced it faster than creators have. I've yet to see any real creators embrace it unless their content is copied (without their consent) on the plaftorm.

    • Jason Keath

      I suspect that trend will hold for some time considering creators have a habit based audience on Youtube, creators have no $ opportunity on Facebook (yet), and Youtube still has a massive search audience lead that will be hard for Facebook to acquire.

  • Stephen Fogarty…-autoplay-161001 It sounds like facebook is weighing local videos over embedded videos on their news feeds. Convincing companies to flock to them, even though they're offering an inferior product. Seeing this, the admins on a lot of facebook pages are copying videos, vines, images, without linking to the artists who created them, robbing them of traffic because of this policy. Kinda undermines the whole laissez faire concept, doesn't it?

  • Jake Ludington

    Bill Green - you are absolutely right. If you upload the video natively to Facebook, you get the improved engagement from Facebook users. Uploading to YouTube puts it in front of your subscribers, gets the video indexed in YouTube search and has much longer potential reach. This study offers a larger scale insight to something I've seen in my own tests, which is that giving up the potential views from Facebook to YouTube is worth the tradeoff for bigger total engagement across both platforms.

  • Bill Green

    To ensure you have all bases covered would it be preferable to load each video to youtube and facebook?

  • Maarten Quartier

    As I find the title to this article 'Content Creators Flee From YouTube, Flock to Facebook for Videos' quite strong I do have some questions into the relevancy of the data and the conclusions drawn from it.

    - If I understand it correctly you are only measuring the number of video posts on these facebook pages related to their source. Based upon this you can only conclude (in my opinion) that for video's on FB pages of these 20 000 brands the importance of native uploading on Facebook versus the other sources is growing. However (as far as I can see in the article), this does not take into account the number of videos these 20 000 brands have uploaded onto other platforms without sharing them on their FB page. From a brand perspective, video can serve a number of brand objectives in which sharing onto your own FB will not allways play a part. In other words if the number of videos during this time period uploaded to You-Tube has doubled the share of Faebook as the primary source for video uploading would have diminished. I don't think this is the case but without the data to prove this the overall conclusion of content creators leaving You-Tube for Facebook can not be made and is thus not valid.

    - If you claim that there is a 50% increase from may to july in content creators uploading video directly to facebook (which I can not find in your graphs) should there, with engagement percentages that remain stable per platform, not be a same effect in the share of interactions graph. In other words if the share of video goes up with 50% between may and july (as you claim) and the share of interactions only grows with about 5% (as I can read in your graph), doesn't this mean that the actual engagement on each individual video shared on facebook goes down?

    - in your conclusion you write 'As Facebook has consistently outperformed YouTube in terms of driving views' which I find a very bizarre conclusion as up until that moment you have never use the word views or shown any data related to view count generated from the videos created. For many brands and content creators the primary goal of making video content is to generate views. This can be done through a paid strategy, an earned strategy (primarily relying on people sharing your video content) or an owned strategy through video SEO and discoverability. From my personal experience on various brands You Tube still remains the most solid tactical platform to drive these views (both on You-Tube as through social sharing). Nowhere in this article do you prove the point that a video natively uploaded onto Facebook outperforms a video natively uploaded onto You-Tube when it comes to driving views. Even more, nowhere in this article do you even prove that FB does anything better then You Tube. The only thin

    Even more, nowhere in this article do you even prove that FB does anything better then You Tube. You only compare video from You Tube shared on facebook versus video natively uploaded on facebook.

    The only thing you could conclude with a 100% certainty is that the number of videos natively uploaded on Facebook is growing closer to the number shared from You-Tube

    To conclude: I feel that this article has a very spectacular title that is in no way backed up by the data provided and I do hope that a majority of (digital) marketers will be able to see through this and draw their own conclusions.
    If not, I fear for the future of our profession.

    Looking forward to your reaction.

  • Jan Rezab

    Doug: We work with all platforms, and its the data that proves it. This is not a sample on a few hundred, but 20,000 FB pages. If you look at our past articles on YouTube - they are quite nice. :)

  • Steve Carton

    Facebook video autoplays in the newsfeed.

    I'm not sure how skewed the data is, but we have video posts on Facebook with 110% engagement rates, because the autoplay views are considered engagements.

    Facebook videos have one BIG weakness to YouTube videos, once they run their very short life, they're lost to history. Videos are not searchable in Facebook, or at least nowhere to the level they are anywhere else on the web.

    And if you add a hashtag to help with search, well we know how useless Facebook's hashtags are.

  • Doug Ferguson

    Isn't socialbakers "in bed" with Facebook? Or at least a "a member of Facebook's Preferred Marketing Developer program"? So where's your credibility for conducting a study that makes your partner look good?

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