Paid Video Showdown: Facebook vs. YouTube

Mallory Scudder | @MalloryScudder Since early 2005, YouTube has remained unchallenged in its reign over the world of online videos with more than 1 billion active users in 2013. But if Mark Zuckerberg has anything to say about it, YouTube will soon be kicked off its video throne.

In his mission to take over the world of social media, Zuckerberg’s introduction of Facebook Video has slowly but surely begun to make a dent in YouTube’s video dominance.

The most recent update to Facebook Video includes video metrics where users can see information on videos they post. This includes total video views, unique video views, the average duration of the video view, and audience retention. Features like these, along with autoplay, have certainly caught the eyes of marketers, as brands like Budweiser, Macy’s, McDonald’s and even Beyoncé have started posting more videos via Facebook Video instead of simply sharing a YouTube link.

In fact, this May Budweiser posted 60 YouTube videos to Facebook in which fewer than 10 used Facebook’s functionality. In September, those numbers flipped, according to social media tracker SocialBakers.

One advantage of using YouTube vs. Facebook Video is that you can cross-post and share videos on many social media networks. Although this is not a feature on Facebook Video (yet!), Facebook has found a way to put a damper on the appeal of posting YouTube videos on Facebook. When a YouTube video is shared on Facebook, the video appears much smaller than those posted directly through Facebook Video.

To sweeten the deal even more, Zuckerberg has also recently launched paid video ads on Instagram, allowing brands to have short, entertaining videos appear in users' streams. Advertisers can target their audience by age, gender and location, and many have already jumped onboard including Disney, The CW, Banana Republic and Lancôme.

Together, Facebook Video and Instagram paid video ads are all part of Zuckerberg’s long-term plot to take over the online video industry, thus stealing tons of video revenue and advertising dollars from YouTube.

Soon brand marketers will have to decide whether they should pay to promote videos on both YouTube and Facebook or to select just one. If you had to choose which platform to promote your video on, would you go with YouTube or Facebook Video?