Native Facebook has become bigger than sharing YouTube videos on Facebook as far as brands are concerned. Take a moment and let that sink in, because this time last year, that was pretty much unthinkable.
Brands posted 20,000 more Facebook videos to Facebook than YouTube videos last month, according to a new report form SocialBakers. Take a look:
This is especially timely, as Facebook just took the time to talk up its video stats to marketers.
"A year ago, YouTube was clearly the dominant network in terms of sheer video quantity, nearly doubling the number of videos published on any other content network," writes Evan James, Head of North American Marketing for SocialBakers. "Starting in May, however, content marketers increasingly began uploading videos to Facebook directly, with a 50% increase from May through July. That increase has kept up – and now it appears they’ve made their choice."
"In terms of interactions, it’s really no contest. In January 2014, Facebook was getting just over half of all video interactions," he adds. "In December, Facebook videos received more than 80% of video all interactions."
So why such a tremendous rise in Facebook video? There are probably a couple reasons. For one, Facebook introduced autoplay videos in the news feed in 2013. These forced users to pay attention. These are, of course, muted until interacted with.
Another reason could be that brands have suffered such drastic declines in organic post reach in the News Feed, they're trying to play better to what Facebook's algorithm actually wants, and it seems to like video - specifically Facebook video.
There's also the fact that said organic reach decline has forced many brands to run sponsored posts more, which means they'll get better reach.
Facebook says it's increasingly seeing a shift towards visual content, especially with video, and that in just a year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the U.S. Because of this, it says, the composition of News Feed is changing. The amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6x globally year-over-year. Since June, Facebook has averaged over a billion video views a day, and on average, over 50% of people who come to Facebook ever y day in the U.S. watch at least one video daily. 76% of people in the U.S. say they tend to discover the videos they do watch on Facebook.
Globally, 65% of Facebook's video views happen on mobile. Facebook attributes this to faster connectivity, cheaper access, better phone screens, etc.
"The most important thing to remember when creating video for Facebook is that it will be a part of News Feed," the company says. "As a creator, you should be conscious that people will discover your video in News Feed next to a photo from a friend or a status update from a relative. Your video needs to fit in, and it needs to be something that your audience will want to watch and share."
"With the launch of auto-play and the surge in mobile use, it’s also important to focus on posting videos that grab people from the first frame of video," it adds. "Shorter, timely video content tends to do well in News Feed. Keep in mind that auto-play videos play silently in News Feed until someone taps to hear sound, so videos that catch people’s attention even without sound often find success."
Facebook uses this Time post as an example.
The company also suggests posting "raw videos that are compelling, shareable, clips that no one else will have," pointing to this one from Taylor Swift as an example.
Of course as with any platform, you have to cater to your own specific audience, and you can utilize Facebook's Video Insights to help you get a better sense of what resonates with them. You can get a look at video views, unique video views, the average duration people viewed your video and audience retention.
"Focus on your overall campaign objectives," Facebook says. "Strong campaigns use a combination of creative assets, such as both photo and video. Brands should optimize their creative for different screens, devices and connection speeds to reach people in the most compelling and effective way."
In its best practices, Facebook also recommends adding a video call to action to invite people to go where you want them to (like your website). Such calls to action include: Learn More, Watch More, Shop Now, and Sign Up.
Tagging other Pages is also recommended for driving up organic distribution.
Admittedly, being Bill Gates probably helps.
If the creative juices aren't flowing, you might benefit from taking a look at what Facebook has deemed the "can't miss videos" of December. This is a new monthly series in which Facebook will highlight some of the most popular and interesting videos posted by Pages.
Update: A previous version of this article suggested that the study showed brands uploaded more videos to Facebook than to YouTube. While the implications are basically the same, the study actually shows Facebook video posts compared to YouTube video shares on Facebook.