Facebook video beats YouTube.
Ok, it’s a far-fetched statement for the immediate future. It might not be for the long haul, though.
A London research firm reported today Facebook will exceed two trillion videos this year, or two-thirds of YouTube’s projected total for the same period.
Ampere Analysis found most content providers have used Facebook for branding and awareness purposes, but trial revenue-sharing collaborations with NFL and Fox Sports make it a “serious challenger to YouTube’s dominance.”
“The rate of growth of video usage is perhaps the most surprising part of the story,” Richard Broughton, research director for Ampere Analysis, told CMSWire. “It’s very rare to find a company growing its business organically this rapidly at such a scale. As a point of reference, it took YouTube roughly six years to reach a comparable scale in terms of quarterly video views. Although Facebook has offered users the ability to upload video for a while, the changes it put in place to drive video viewing arrived less than two years ago.’
Broughton cited the introduction of autoplay as a key development, followed by Facebook's video prioritization about a year ago.
"The latter is probably the most significant strategy-wise," he said, "alongside its further prioritization of native video, which was the point at which it began to more actively compete for consumption."
How can you NOT see videos on Facebook today? It’s been a regular part of the News Feed for months now. Can you really miss a video -- through autoplay -- as you stream down your feed for just 30 seconds? Put it to the test.
Fortune reported earlier this month tales of wild video growth from Facebook for pages likes BuzzFeed’s -- 80 times growth in a year, reaching more than 500 million in April.
Facebook users, it reported, now watch 4 billion video streams a day, four times the number from a year earlier. The key? Facebook’s now getting direct uploads to its site versus YouTube feeds and other video sites.
Ampere researchers see Facebook establishing a partnership model with content providers and making money. In other words, they’d encourage content creators to upload their own videos.
“We therefore expect Facebook to trigger an advertising ‘arms race’ by competing directly against YouTube for user-uploaded video audiences,” according to Broughton.
Where else does Ampere see Facebook moving? Pre-roll ads on its video assets to improve remuneration for key content partners.
Broughton told CMSWire he still sees, however, a reluctance to put key content pieces on Facebook.
“Without the ability for companies to monetize their videos,” he said, “they will use the platform primarily for marketing and promotion purposes, and use other services to generate the revenue.”
But the numbers still keep getting better for Facebook videos. Almost 15 percent of internet users across Western Europe and the US have watched videos on Facebook in the last month, according to Ampere Analysis’ estimates. A sixth of Facebook video viewers have not watched YouTube in the last month, according to an Ampere Analysis survey of more than 10,000 European and North American consumers.
Ampere has Facebook and YouTube “neck-and-neck” in for monthly active users globally.
What does Facebook have over YouTube? Facebook videos are served to logged-in users. This gives it “far greater volumes of highly valuable, personalized user data than most other online video services, including YouTube.”
YouTube Not Idle
YouTube is already beginning to respond to the impending competition. Key content creators have been encouraged to sign exclusive deals to reduce the risk of poaching, Broughton said. He does not expect YouTube to sit still. It released, he said, interactive within-video-ad shopping functionality in May, via which advertisers can showcase product details and provide click-to-purchase options to viewers.
“Test campaigns revealed improved brand recall and significant increases in revenue per impression,” he added. “More effective advertising translates to better (Cost Per Mile) CPMs and improved returns for content partners.”
In all, Broughton sees “no speedy victory” between the two video players but rather “years of competition.”