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YouTube versus Facebook Video: Which is the Best Platform for Online Video Marketing


Once you’ve completed your video and are ready to find your audience, you need to decide where you’re going to actually put your video. You can choose to share your video on either YouTube or Facebook, and each strategy has its own benefits. YouTube is a huge repository of videos that comes with a significant amount of exposure, but it can be difficult to get a foothold in. Facebook is a primarily social website that relies on sharing, but content may not last as long.


YouTube’s Benefits and Drawbacks

YouTube serves essentially as a library for video media. Users are constantly on YouTube looking for interesting content — and that is its own benefit. You don’t need to reach out to users on YouTube, users reach out to you. That also means that your content lasts much longer. Seasonal content will be relevant every single year, and evergreen content will gain new viewers continually. As long as your content is well-presented and compelling, it will usually find its audience eventually.

Due to the nature of YouTube, content on the platform experiences a slow build in popularity. If you don’t have the viewership to properly “launch” a video with initial views, it may take quite a lot of time for viewers to find your material. However, once they do find your material, the views tend to keep coming in. If viewers are rating your videos highly, you’ll find your videos becoming even more successful. Successful videos on YouTube remain at the top because of their popularity. They will keep being seen, often by people all around the globe. This is a double-edged sword: you’ll usually be pulling from a small percentage of a broad demographic rather than entirely saturating a smaller demographic. For a global marketing company, this makes sense. For a local lawn service, it may not.


It’s also possible to build a social media following on YouTube. Viewers can follow your channel, so they will see your new videos when you release them. Over time, you’ll be able to build a significant presence — and this will give a boost to all of your new videos. However, viewers on YouTube may not necessarily be as engaged as viewers on Facebook. You may not see a lot of discussion occurring regarding your videos and (consequently) you may not see as many click throughs or as much general interest. Finally, it should be noted that videos on YouTube can be monetized through advertisements quite easily. While this may not be applicable to most businesses, it can be the business model for others.


The Pros and Cons of Facebook

On YouTube, viewers are there to look for content. On Facebook, viewers are there primarily to socialize with friends and family. This affects how a brand can engage with their audience. Over half of all of the adults in the United States have a Facebook account, though there are varying levels of engagement. When users do share material, this material tends to be shared and viewed quite a lot: people inherently trust media that is shared by their friends and family. Users on Facebook will also discuss material and engage with it significantly more than on Facebook because of the inherent social aspect. They aren’t just leaving comments for strangers to see, the way they would on YouTube: they are leaving comments for the people that they know.

But content on Facebook generally doesn’t get activity for as long as YouTube does. Instead, it’s shared quickly and extensively and then slowly trails off. Content isn’t being searched for on Facebook the way that it’s searched for on YouTube; the engagement eventually peters out. This can be countered by repeatedly sharing media through Facebook — as long as you don’t share it too often.

On Facebook, a significant amount of your success will depend on how many followers you already have. While this is important on YouTube too, it’s still possible that users will find YouTube videos through a search. On Facebook, your videos will usually only connect with those who are following you already, and it will be up to the engagement of those followers to determine whether your message spreads.


But Facebook also has another advantage as a platform: the ability to target specific demographics through its paid advertising structure. YouTube does not have this. On Facebook, you could choose to show your video to men aged 25 to 35 who have dogs — Facebook doesn’t just track biographical information, it also tracks interests and activities. Consequently, it’s easier to get to your target audience through Facebook, even if it’s more difficult to get a general audience.


Choosing the Right Platform for You

So which platform should you choose? In general, YouTube is better if you want to steadily build a online web presence with compelling content and media. Facebook is better if you want to start a dialog with your clients and grow your brand engagement. Facebook is good for brief, shareable videos that may not necessarily be applicable again, such as simple tips and information. YouTube is better for larger investments, as the video content will remain visible and useful for much longer. Either platform should give you access to a large viewership, and both platforms require that you create polished, compelling media.


Compounding Factors: The Hybrid Approach

With all that in mind, there’s something important to note: the platforms of both YouTube and Facebook can be linked. For one, YouTube videos can be (and often are) shared on Facebook, which gives almost identical benefits to sharing them through Facebook originally. In other words, it’s very easy to have the best of both worlds. There’s no logistical reason not to share video on both Facebook and YouTube at the same time, it’s a question of commitment.

Video marketing has to be promoted if it is to succeed, and often there will be limitations on time and resources. You’ll need to decide whether you want to promote one platform over the other or stick to one platform equally. But either way, there’s nothing to be gained by not uploading the video on both sites, or uploading it to YouTube first and then sharing it on Facebook.

Both YouTube and Facebook Video are excellent ways to get started in video marketing. On either platform, you’ll find that quality and consistency will be the key. By regularly posting valuable content, you’ll find that viewers will readily follow.


Article by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer at D-Mak Productions, a video production company specializing in professional web video production.