Facebook and Youtube Are Facing Off For Your Video Ad Budget!

If you’ve been following this blog over the past 2-3 years you’re well aware we’ve been talking about the convergence of mobile and video as the web’s future for quite some time now. Turns out we’re not the only ones who see things that way. The two largest players in online engagement today are YouTube and Facebook, and though each has its own approach, they’re both focused primarily on this paradigm.


Facebook and YouTube – It’s a fight between GIANTS!


YouTube’s launch in February of 2005 was the watershed event insofar as online video is concerned, and today online video and YouTube are nearly synonymous. There are over 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute!


Recently, at Fortune’s annual Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki described the company’s top three priorities as being: “Mobile, mobile, mobile”. The company’s website states 50% of YouTube’s views are already on mobile, and mobile ad revenue is showing 100% growth year-over-year. With this trend only set to accelerate it should come as no surprise this is where YouTube will be investing, especially when we look at how it compares to Facebook – its biggest competitor for our video-advertising Dollars.


While getting accurate data insofar as how the two giants compare on mobile is nearly impossible, reading between the lines of their respective app pages hints at YouTube’s challenge – While Google’s Playstore lists both YouTube’s and Facebook’s apps as having between one to five billion users, Youtube’s comment count is only a quarter of Facebook’s, suggesting a much lower engagement rate…


In light of the above it’s unsurprising Ms. Wojcicki has improving the experience as YouTube’s immediate goal: “A lot of our focus is on how we continue to make that better. What are the UI experiences, what are the creation experiences, how do we make it really fast? I think mobile is changing everything and it will continue to change it more in the future.”



While YouTube was born of video and sees mobile as its challenge, Facebook’s journey is the other way round. While the site has been top-dog of the social scene for years, it was its early and decisive adoption of mobile that really powered up the incoming ad revenue. At present, Facebook already accounts for over twenty percent of all mobile time spent in the U.S, with that number only set to grow.


Based on the company’s recent releases and purchases it’s plain to see Facebook’s challenge and focus is on improving how it handles and offers videos. Considering that over the last nine months or so Facebook has quadrupled the amount of videos it serves daily from one billion to around four billion this comes as no surprise…


The PR material released around the company’s latest update states “With this update, we want to show people more of the types of videos they want to see, and fewer of the videos they don’t”, but this is just the latest in a series of actions Facebook has taken in recent months in an effort to upgrade how it handles video – Last July Facebook purchased video distribution and ad-platform LiveRail to boost to its video ad unit, and in January the company bought video infrastructure company Quickfire, with the goal of ramping up its entire video delivery infrastructure


What This Means For You

As the behemoths of online advertising lumber on with their plans for dominating our attention span the one question that really matters to most of us is: “What does all this mean for me?”, and the answer is actually quite simple – If you’ve not yet invested in video advertising for your business, you really need to start, and insofar as where to allocate your budget – the only way to get a solid answer to that one is good old A/B testing. Running campaigns on both platforms and comparing the ROI.