Facebook takes on YouTube in videos battle

Facebook takes on YouTube in videos battle

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Monday, 22nd September 2014

Facebook is expanding its video functions and targeting some of YouTube's top creators to compete with the video host.

Benedict Cumberbatch does the ice bucket challengeBenedict Cumberbatch is one of many celebrities whose ice bucket challenge video was shared on both Facebook and YouTube (Credit: YouTube)

Facebook is increasing its focus on video hosting in a bid to compete with YouTube.

The social media platform has been targeting some of YouTube’s top content producers, including the Walt Disney-owned Makers Studios and Collective Digital Studio, according to the Wall Street Journal.

With Facebook announcing this month that it had received over a billion daily video views since June, it is unsurprising that the platform wants to take advantage of its success.

Video views on Facebook grew by 50% from May to July this year, after more than 17 million videos related to the Ice Bucket Challenge were uploaded over the summer.

Discovery Channel is one brand that has already benefited from using Facebook’s auto-play and call-to-action functions (which include clickable options to ‘shop now’ or ‘learn more’ directly from the video). Derek Dodge, the network’s director of digital programming, told Variety that the success of their recent Shark Week video campaign had Schanged the way we think about using Facebook. In the past we saw it as a marketing platform - now it’s more of a pure media platform. This is helping us extend our video strategy into social media.T

Despite Facebook’s billion daily video views, the site is yet to capitalise on in-play advertising to the same extent as YouTube, but this looks set to change with the recent introduction of the new video capabilities.

In addition to attracting some of YouTube’s big hitters, including The Annoying Orange, Facebook has introduced a number of video improvements that will appeal to advertisers, including video views, retention statistics and viewing demographic data.

The Annoying Orange is one of the YouTube star channels which is moving over to FacebookThe Annoying Orange is one of the YouTube star channels which is uploading onto to Facebook as well (Credit: Annoying Orange/Facebook)

With YouTube estimated to earn $1.13 billion in advertising revenue this year according to research firm eMarketer, Facebook stands to receive a strong return if it is successful in boosting its video capabilities.

Facebook’s product management director Fidji Simo has promised more video news is to come, writing in a recent blog post that Facebook Sare committed to building more tools to help marketers of every size take advantage of video’s power on Facebook.T

YouTube declined to comment on Facebook’s improvements; however it is clear that they are determined to keep up with the market.  Last week YouTube has announced that it will be funding new content from some of its top creators. Meanwhile at a recent Partner Meeting, YouTube executives revealed plans to add new features both to front-end video play and to analytics. YouTube has also invested in off-screen marketing in America in a successful bid to increase content awareness and viewership.

Although Facebook’s video provision is still small compared to YouTube, it has a strong reputation for providing impressive returns on existing advertising. Forbes has predicted that if Facebook can build on this reputation within its video offerings, it will be able to charge advertisers more than YouTube does, and YouTube will again need to look at how it can compete with the social media giant.

By Pippa Shawley

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Facebook is expanding its video functions and targeting some of YouTube's top creators to compete with the video host.