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What Gets More Facebook Exposure: YouTube Links Or Facebook Video Uploads?

How To Get Your Content Seen

Whether you’re the CEO of a conglomerate or the head of an online start-up, there’s one thing you crave for your business above all else: exposure. Thanks to the internet, it’s entirely possible to have your product seen, shared and discovered by an audience of millions - and due to the democratic nature of cyberspace, the chance of your video going viral isn’t solely decided by the number of pounds you pump into your advertising budget. In theory, the most interesting and creative corporate videos stand the best chance of being shared online, but some absolute gems whimper and die long before they reach the lofty heights of appearing in Grandma’s chain emails.

If you do manage to attain that level of exposure, you're in business. Big, big business. $2.8bn of revenue was generated last year through online video advertising, and that's expected to grow to $5bn in 2016. But to stand any chance of claiming your portion, you'll need more than just a funny video of a cat falling off a trampoline - you'll also need to know how to share it. Most of the time, this will leave you with two choices: either uploading your video to YouTube and linking it to your Facebook followers, or instead putting it straight on Facebook to cut out the middle man. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but which will get you the most exposure?


What You're Choosing From

Firstly, some context. While everyone knows both sites' scopes, the statistics are still mind-blowing. YouTube, rightly considered to be the granddaddy of online video, has over 100 hours of content uploaded to its servers every minute. Facebook, on the other hand, is pretty big itself - over a billion people use the website monthly. While not traditionally associated with video, Facebook's leaders are always rolling out new features to try and compete with YouTube in the lucrative online video market.

Neither are exactly lacking in size. So how do you know which is the best destination for your next viral masterpiece?

Facebook's New Features

Facebook overlord Mark Zuckerberg announcing a shiny new update for his site's video service seems to have become a bimonthly event. The most recent development? Video view counts and in-picture links to related videos. While not a groundbreaking reveal in and of itself, it neatly complements self-playing videos on users' timelines and recent tweaks to the site's algorithm to aid in video exposure.

All of this results in Facebook video becoming an increasingly powerful marketing tool.
While Facebook will spin the updates as benefits for the end-user, it is clear they all serve one main purpose: encouraging advertisers and content creators to choose them instead of YouTube. Uploading your video to Facebook may eventually lead to you becoming one of their featured content uploaders - and if you manage to join that party, you're laughing. 

But What About YouTube? 

While view counts remain as high as ever, bad press has begun to seep into YouTube's once untouchable brand status. After disasterous attempts at a new layout, new Content ID policy and new comment system, trust in the service is at an all-time low. Even worse, the site's top talent are beginning to question how viable a business model YouTube actually offers. As the amount paid to premium uploaders dwindles (down $1.75 per thousand hits between 2012 and 2013), the cut YouTube takes remains at 45%. The result of this is end-users and content creators alike becoming disillusioned with the site.

All this, of course, plays right into Facebook's hands. 

Making Facebook Video the Only Choice?

In a word: no.

While YouTube's image is far from perfect, it still attracts around 60 million unique visitors every month, all of whom will have the ability to support a viral ad push for your video. Furthermore, the site is still said be home to the most video views per month by far - with Facebook, according to one site's statistics, not even appearing in the top 15. If your decision is based on number of potential viewers alone, YouTube is the place to go. From there, you can always share your link to Facebook, giving you the best of both worlds.

This is the route we've traditionally taken. In a poll over a five day period in January 2013, analytics site SocialBakers registered 3,648 YouTube links shared by certain companies - as opposed to just 458 videos uploaded directly to Facebook. Over the same period, YouTube videos received more shares and slightly more likes than on Facebook - although the number of comments made on Facebook videos was around double that of YouTube's.
Unfortunately, this data is a little outdated; however, what we do know is that video views on Facebook grew 50% between May and July 2014. A colossal increase - and one which implies that Facebook's aggressive marketing is working.

What Should I Do, Then?

Even if we assume the figures quoted above remain anything close to the truth, Facebook's video service still seems like the best option. Although fewer videos are shared through Facebook, it receives a tonne more comments. And while shares matter, comments have become equally as important - if not more so.

This is for two reasons:

1. Commenting on a Facebook video will automatically show it on your friends' news feeds. If you speak, you share.
2. The data may not take into account comment-sharing (tagging somebody's name into a video to give them a notification). This isn't technically sharing, but it achieves the exact same thing, while simultaneously making a video appear more popular as your interaction can be seen publicly. A comment-share can be seen by all; a traditional share is made privately between two parties.

Finally, we're brought to the issue of how many likes each service's videos received.

The number of likes made on YouTube is slightly higher (we'll use the above figures for argument's sake). But this doesn't paint a full picture. That's because, unlike on YouTube, a Facebook like will increase the exposure of your video in a multitude of ways. As with making a comment, liking a video on Facebook will bring it to your friends' news feeds. Furthermore, likes on Facebook are public. While YouTube tells us nothing more than a total number of likes a video has received, Facebook lets us know the names of every single person who's gone out of their way to give it a thumbs up.

So you can choose what's better for your business - the anonymous approval of thirty thousand strangers or the more personal recommendation of a friend.


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.
What Gets More Facebook Exposure: YouTube Links Or Facebook Video Uploads? Reviewed by Emile Cole on Friday, September 19, 2014 Rating: 5
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