Facebook has overtaken YouTube to become the most-viewed video platform for desktop users.
In an interview with AOL, comScore co-founder Gian Fulgoni revealed that Facebook passed YouTube for desktop video views in August 2014, serving 12.3 billion views to YouTuber’s 11.3 billion.
“On desktop viewing, they delivered about a billion more views than YouTube,” Fulgoni said. However, the majority of those views come from Facebook’s new auto-play policy, where they updated their desktop website to automatically play videos without sound as users scroll through their timeline.
The steep rise in video views from May, 2014 onward is attributed to a change to Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, which started showing more videos to users that were statistically likely to watch or engage with a video. Google’s sites, including YouTube, are still well ahead of Facebook overall as videos don’t auto-play on mobile devices.
“While there’s reach advantage for auto-play, there’s an issue as to whether you’re really getting good engagement from it;” Fulgoni added, addressing an issue that has always been a challenge for content creators of all kinds – How do you get people to engage with your videos. “If you can figure out how to create the video so that it grabs people’s attention… Then you may well have the benefits of high reach as well as some good engagement.”
Video performance is strongly tied with engagement on YouTube, so many popular YouTubers are seeing outstanding engagement rates as they use the tricks they learned on YouTube on other platforms. I appears Philip DeFranco has stumbled upon this holy grail of high reach and engagement on Facebook now that he is uploading his Philip DeFranco Show news segment directly to Facebook. The same call to actions he used on YouTuber (“comment,” “like,” etc…) transfer over, so he is seeing excellent engagement on the platform.
It’s interesting to see another service get close to YouTube – The golden child of online video – Particularly a service like Facebook, which doesn’t appear to count its video offering as a core part of its service. That all seems to be changing, however. Facebook is improving their video offering and encouraging large brands to use more videos. They’ve had a Content-ID-style system in place for some time now, and as they work on their video ad offerings, it appears they are building up to something that may just blow the competition out of the water.
Watch Gian Fulgoni’s full interview below: