Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Videos are a vital part of social media marketing Videos are a vital part of social media marketing and can be uploaded to just about any platform from Facebook and YouTube to Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Each platform maintains its own video duration limits: Instagram up to 60 seconds, Twitter up to 140 seconds and LinkedIn from 30 sec to 5 minutes. In this blog I want to highlight the differences between Facebook's and YouTube’s approach to video viewing. Keep in mind that neither platform is better or more suitable for small business owners and that both should be exploited to the fullest.
The Facebook environment VS the YouTube environment
To begin with it is vital to understand how Facebook's and YouTube’s environments influence the length and types of videos uploaded and how each platform measures video successes. Facebook is in essence a news feed with all kinds of content streaming past viewers as fast as they can scroll. Posts ‘disappear’ after a day or two and are nearly impossible to find again, unless you save them. On the other hand, YouTube is a search engine, in fact it is the second largest search engine after Google. YouTube is an environment that a viewer can and does return to again and again to easily find informational and instructional (as well as entertainment) videos.
Within these environments videos are handled differently: On Facebook’s newsfeed format videos run on autoplay and as a result all a viewer needs to do is remain in the video for just three seconds for Facebook to count it as a “view”. In contrast, YouTube requires that a viewer click on a video in order to have it counted.
In fact even ads on YouTube are not counted as viewed unless a viewer stays in the ad for at least 30 seconds. This means that Facebook insights and engagement stats are less than accurate measurements, while YouTube’s stats are, for the most part, reliable.
Facebook scrolling format
Another major difference contributing to video duration comes from the fact that Facebook’s rapid scrolling view format is suited to short videos of no more than 60 to 90 seconds, while YouTube rewards long videos of five, ten or more minutes, as well as highly developed valuable video content. While I would usually point out the shortness of viewer attention spans, it is the environment of the platforms that influence the best video lengths in these cases and not waning attention spans.
While we are on the subject of scrolling it is important to point out that Facebook controls our newsfeeds and so while you may view your friends’ posts, you have no true control over content. On the other hand YouTube viewing is entirely in the hands of the viewer.
Best video types for Facebook and YouTube
Facebook is a great place to upload teasers, quick behind-the-scenes clips that should lead the viewer to your site and/or your YouTube channel. YouTube is the perfect place to store and display your library of information, from How To videos to workshops and in-depth explainer videos. Viewers visit YouTube with the purpose of learning (or being entertained), while viewers visit Facebook to scroll through their newsfeed for friendly updates.
Facebook rewards vs YouTube rewards
Facebook rewards shorter watched (and Liked) videos with more exposure in newsfeeds; in contrast YouTube rewards longer watched-time videos with better search results and suggested video status. Video engagement and valuable content are the key to both platforms and therefore it’s the video duration factor that is the defining distinction.
It’s tempting to say that video quality plays a significant role in watch-times, but a cursory look at video channels and individual videos on YouTube will show you that this is not necessarily the case.
Facebook and YouTube CTAs
Both Facebook and YouTube videos include CTAs (calls to action); in Facebook posts typically encourage viewers to Like, Share and Comment, effectively moving the video forward and away from your content; while YouTube videos ask you to Subscribe, Like, Click a bell to be notified of new videos and Click to watch the next video, essentially asking you stay inside their channel.
The video bottom line
With easy access to smartphone videography, video marketing in both Facebook and YouTube are both worthwhile and cost-effective tools for small business owners. You do not have to choose one or the other, rather take advantage of both platforms and reap the benefits from both.
Do you want to open yourself to a more successful business? Are you lost in the social media jungle? Let me help you re-energize your business and rediscover your passion in your profession. We’ll work together to improve your marketing strategy and online exposure and find the perfect target markets for your business. Contact me today to schedule a free introductory meeting.