The face of the Internet continues to change and evolve, but we have experienced at least a couple of major constants these last several years. First, Facebook continues to be among the most popular social networks with millions of users all around the world connecting with one another and sharing an increasingly broad range of content. Second, YouTube continues to be an unstoppable force in online video, empowering users to share everything from funny cats to unboxing videos.
From an Internet marketing and online branding perspective, where should you be uploading your videos for maximum benefit? Let’s take a closer look.
Pros and Cons of Facebook Video
According to statistics gathered during the second quarter of 2015, Facebook had nearly one and a half billion monthly active users. That means that, on average, about one in five people on this planet are active on Facebook at least once a month. That’s insane. And it also represents insane potential for your online brand.
Facebook is the kind of site that is inherently built around the concept of sharing. When one user watches your video and enjoys it, they’re literally only a couple of clicks away from sharing that video with all their friends. If you tap into the trending topics, your video can reach even more people and gain thousands of views.
It has also been demonstrated, though not obviously confirmed by Facebook in any official manner, that uploaded videos generally get more reach on the social network than regular text-based updates or links to external sites. If you want to get in front of more people on Facebook, video is a great way to do it. Considering how much time people spend on Facebook anyway, you want to be where your audience is.
Except, of course, that Facebook is severely limiting the organic reach that your brand page gets these days and you’ve got to pay to “boost” it if you want more people to see it. Facebook also lacks any official form of direct monetization for your videos and while you have access to some statistics, the metrics and analytics for your Facebook videos can still be somewhat limited.
Pros and Cons of YouTube Video
If you thought the nearly 1.5 billion active users on Facebook was huge, then you should also understand that the over a billion users on YouTube are nothing to sneeze at either. YouTube says that it reaches more people in the key 18-34 and even the 18-49 year-old age demographics than any US cable network. That’s big.
Unlike Facebook, YouTube doesn’t exactly make you pay for organic reach among your fans and subscribers, but there is definitely an algorithm in place for what videos and channels appear on the YouTube homepage for any given user. There’s no real way to “boost” this other than to convince your subscribers to interact with and watch more of your videos.
Sharing is just as easy on YouTube, even though Google is encouraging the whole +1 thing, and the comments are just as colorful as on Facebook. People are “wasting” countless hours watching videos on YouTube all day and you have the potential to show up in trending topics or related video listings. And unlike Facebook, YouTube does offer several monetization options for you to make money from your videos directly.
The analytics in YouTube are remarkably robust, breaking down just about everything you’d want to know about the people watching your videos. This helps a great deal with further targeting and optimizing your content to fit your audience.
A Mixed and Balanced Approach?
For my part, I generally prefer to upload my videos to YouTube, both for the analytics and the monetization potential. I can also easily share my YouTube videos on Facebook (and still have them play right inside Facebook), but the reverse is not true. Both YouTube and Facebook videos can have an “embed” function for inserting them into your blog or site, but I find the YouTube version is more universal and familiar to more people.
Does this mean you shouldn’t upload any videos to Facebook? Not at all, but you do need to be more strategic and I find there are more benefits to YouTube uploads overall. And even then, there’s really nothing stopping you from uploading to both sites.