Can Facebook Rival YouTube’s Video Dominance?

The tides are changing for digital video, as Facebook is now estimated to represent 20 percent of U.S. video advertising spend, according to eMarketer. Is the growing presence of video on social channels likely to pose a threat to Google’s YouTube? 

eMarketer‘s latest report shows that Facebook is seeing robust growth in the video space. As of last October, although Google sites such as YouTube were still in the lead in terms of unique viewers (162.3 million), Facebook came on strong with 93.8 million unique viewers, followed by AOL, Yahoo sites, and VEVO.

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“Social properties provide a different viewing experience than YouTube or a TV network’s streaming player. A key differentiating element is the ease with which users can share and comment,” eMarketer‘s report says, adding that other social media platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, and Snapchat are all delving into the video space as well.

eMarketer also analyzed a June 2014 survey from Frank N. Magid Associates, and found that one-third percent of U.S. digital video viewers used Facebook. And although it is still behind YouTube (75 percent of digital video viewers use YouTube), Facebook surpasses other well-known video services like Netflix (28 percent) and Hulu (14 percent).

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Facebook-owned Instagram also represents 10 percent of U.S. digital video viewership.

The social network’s own company data shows significant growth in their video sector as well. Over the past year, the number of video posts per person on the platform has increased 75 percent globally and 94 percent in the U.S. And on average, more than 50 percent of daily Facebook users in the U.S. watch at least one video every day.

Facebook also reports that globally, 65 percent of its video views come from mobile.

By their nature, social networks like Facebook are participatory and involve sharing among a large number of users, a fact that may help them gain on Google’s share of the video space. Take, for example, the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which went viral last summer. A slew of Facebook users not only uploaded their own videos to show their support for a good cause, but also commented and shared their friends’ videos to encourage others to participate in the challenge.

Do you think Facebook has what it takes to give YouTube a run for its money in the digital video space?

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