When it comes to where a brand should spend its video ad dollars, YouTube has long been the go-to destination. With more than 3 billion video views per day, content producers direct the majority of its efforts here – and unsurprisingly the advertiser budgets have followed.
But this presumption is being seriously tested by a video traffic explosion – chronicled in great detail by Fortune magazine writer Erin Griffith – underway at Facebook. Facebook users are watching 4 billion video streams a day, which is a 4x jump from just twelve months ago. Granted, Facebook counts a “view” as any video that plays for three seconds, which means that users scrolling down their feed and allowing a video to briefly auto play before moving on inflates the view total. Nonetheless, 4 billion is 4 billion.
Fortune’s Griffith goes into some of the reasons behind social network’s video success – which unsurprisingly includes efforts by engineers to adjust algorithms that make it not only easier to watch videos, but also to share them. While Griffith’s focus is on how all of this impacts advertisers and where they spend their money, Facebook’s rapidly growing impact with video presents a conundrum for B2B and B2G brands and the public relations/marketing firms that represent them.
In evaluating the major social networks and where to focus resources, investment and, most importantly, content, Facebook typically comes up last for firms seeking to influencer decision makers across government and businesses. Sure, everyone is on Facebook, so it goes, but the working assumption is that the largest social network is where you go to view new pics of the grandkids or post updates from the beach – not to consume B2B/B2G focused content.
Griffith’s article supports as much when it comes to videos, with the author pointing out that, “…Facebook’s biggest advantage over YouTube and other video providers may be boredom.” Griffith suggests someone lands on a YouTube video either because they are searching directly for it or a related topic, or a video being shared is ultimately sourced on that site. With Facebook, most of the time we are watching videos because we are killing time on the site and it is just another thing to do.
Because Bluetext works with so many B2G and B2B firms, social media strategy comes up quite a bit. Often, recommendations lean towards LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube depending on the ultimate goal and category of decision makers the client is trying to reach. Even with B2B and B2G clients for whom we are not supporting social media, Facebook is usually trailing the pack in their social efforts.
But the fact is that Facebook drives one-quarter of all web traffic, and its video traffic explosion demands B2B and B2G firms reevaluate how best to use the site with video content. Is it ideal for placing corporate marketing, event or deeply technical product and service videos? No, absolutely not. But are there times when Facebook, rather than YouTube, should be ground zero for launching a more consumable brand humor video or engaging content that can be easily viewed – and shared – across Facebook and then on to other destinations? 4 billion video streams a day say yes, and going forward B2B and B2G brands may be saying yes as well.