Great Video Ad debate

Social media platforms and politicians share a common fate: At various times they’re pitted against each other.

For politicians, that time is usually in a debate during an election.

For social media platforms, that occurs when there's a growth in users and features.

The latest social media debate involves YouTube and Facebook. Both platforms are locked in a battle for video supremacy for consumer attention.

This has raised questions among digital marketers seeking the best strategy for their spend.

(Editor's Note: Pierre DeBois will be speaking at CMSWire's DX Summit 2015 on Nov. 3 in Chicago.)

The Video King

YouTube has been the rose of the social media garden when it comes to video platforms.

While it is known that its search engine is second in use only to its “search cousin” Google, the real value of YouTube lies in how consumers and traditional industries have turned to it as de facto video network.

Video material has included movie previews, educational videos, independent programs from “stars” who have amassed thousands of followers and even movie rentals on a small scale.

Various research firms have begun to include YouTube use in their metrics.

Billboard added YouTube plays to its rating system for music and Nielsen added YouTube to its measurement in 2014.

These introductions reflect a growing interest in YouTube as an online entertainment venue. Even YouTube has built several studios, YouTube Space, to permit creatives and non-profits to explore production ideas and produce original programs.

Enter Facebook

However, because of a growth in video plays, Facebook is restating case for video use.

The Facebook audience is well known for its scale, reaching the milestone of having over one billion users logged in simultaneously, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced.

Sheryl Sandberg echoed the significance of that milestone, stating in Adweek that big brands should use Facebook to augment TV ad campaigns because we “have a Super Bowl on mobile in the US every day.”

According to Fast Company, Facebook has quadrupled the number of video plays to 4 billion per day.

Marketers are now funneling ad dollars towards the platforms that attract large audiences consistently. Industry analysts expect expects Facebook to surpass YouTube in the amount of video ads budget allocated.

Hungry for Video

When looking at the burgeoning interest in both Facebook and YouTube, it is easy to see how digital video consumption among US consumers is soaring.

Taking a look of the recent history of entire video ad landscape is enlightening. According to the IAB, 59 million Americans — almost a quarter of the population — consumed digital video at least once a month in 2014, a 13 percent increase over 2013.

Consequently, digital video ad spending is rising fast.

According to the Pew Research Center, $4.15 billion was spent on digital ads in 2014, representing just 2.4 percent of total ad spend. That budget is expected to rise to 15 percent by 2017.

The same report notes spending on the mobile video ad segment is growing even faster, on track to rise from $1.5 billion in 2014 to $6 billion in 2018.

So Which Platform to Choose?

Well, there are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  1. Know your audience. In the world of customer experience, marketers should know what personas are receiving their message.
  2. Understand the sales path of the audience with respect to the platforms. This means understanding what part of the sales cycle that may be in a customer’s head at a given time. Tools such as the Customer Journey Tool can enlighten on what is typically possible.

These aspects accentuate where a video ad message can be best effective, maximizing relevant exposure while tailoring a message.

Why Bother

Facebook and YouTube are among the top five apps people access regularly, according to Forbes. This implies ad exposure on these platforms raise the opportunity of differing ad message being viewed by active people.

People search for YouTube videos for information and entertainment, given YouTube’s status as the second largest search engine.

Facebook, being a relatively closed community, offers an opportunity for ads with a specific personal appeal since video is shared among users and their immediate followers.

This means a strategy for Facebook should incorporate user interest, while YouTube videos and ads run on the platform can be positioned for introducing products, services, and events where customers will likely conduct a search.

Granted cross exposure can exist, creating a pause to consider what ads to plan. If you are attracting music fans, should they see ads in a YouTube video embedded within a Facebook post or in a video that is uploaded in Facebook?

Overall marketers can consider their own customer and industry knowledge to form an initial strategy that will certainly be refined over time due to nuances that cross Facebook and YouTube purposes.

As Facebook and YouTube square off, marketers should not attempt to choose one over the other.

Understanding the unique strengths of the platforms can spotlight ideas to build customer experiences that can drive objectives and keep potential customers engaged.

In short, make a bipartisanship when it comes to creating a marketing video strategy.

If you'd like to hear more about digital experience strategies, Pierre DeBois will be speaking at the DX Summit in Chicago on November 3. Find out more here.

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