In February 2014 only 1 in every 4 of all videos posted on Facebook were uploaded directly. By the first quarter of 2015 that number had risen to 70%. When you consider that it was recently announced by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg the social network now displays 4 billion videos a day, this adds up to serious competition for YouTube.
When is a view really a view?
One of the most contentious issues is what exactly those 4 billion views a day actually mean. Videos on Facebook autoplays silently in a users news feeds. This contrasts with YouTube where users select the videos that they are going to watch. Facebook itself publicly defines a view as watching three seconds or more. That’s short enough that simply using Facebook will lead to a large number of views.
Going down the “rabbit hole”
Going down the “YouTube Rabbit Hole” is something that almost everyone who has spent time on the website can relate to. However, there is still a fundamental difference in the way that Facebook and YouTube are being used. YouTube is primarily about looking for a specific type of video. In essence it’s a massive video search engine. Facebook video in contrast is about discovering video that you weren’t actively looking for and maybe didn’t even know existed.
Over 85% of generation Y now owns a smartphone. It’s perhaps not surprising then that 75% of video views are occurring on mobile devices. In the first three months of 2015 mobile accounted for 73% of the social networks revenue. That’s up from 69% for the previous quarter. For an established player like Facebook to shift so rapidly into mobile, while at the same time developing its own native video platform, shows just how flexible they can be.
Facebook’s 4 billion videos views may be slightly inflated but it is undeniably growing fast. Equally impressive is that this billion dollar business has pivoted so quickly to mobile while growing its own native video. While there is almost certainly room for two giants in the video space, YouTube must be feeling the heat from a competitor that even a couple of years ago was barely on the radar.