‘Why is my video not auto running on Facebook?!’ A very interesting (and frustrating!) question people asked me a lot the last year. My first response is always: ‘did you link it from YouTube?’ When the answer is ‘yes’, then there is your answer! From the end of 2014 Facebook started a battle with YouTube (well actually Google, because Google owns YouTube) to become the biggest free video player online.

A study by SocialBakers on engagement in Facebook video vs YouTube shows that Facebook videos get 40% more engagement than their YouTube links of the same video. What this means is that Facebook is organically pushing up the reach of their native videos comparing to YouTube clips. They are serious about their goal to be the biggest! But there are some significant differences, it is the difference between intent and discovery.

The DNA of Facebook is not based on searching but on connections, exploration and algorithms. Facebook shows the content they ‘think’ you like to see mostly based on your behavior in the past and of your friends. Admitted: they are really good at this! The reason they started to develop their video strategy has to do with the fact that they discovered that their audience was craving for video. Their measurements showed that by far this is creating the most organic engagement.

Based on that answer you might want to choose one platform over the other or you can decide to upload them on both platforms and end up with a happy blend.

YouTube is wired differently. If you want to find intentionally a video on a certain topic, this is easier to do on YouTube than Facebook. With the technology of Google backing YouTube up (they are the 2nd largest search engine of the world and still growing) people intentionally are on this platform to see videos of their interest. They might want to explore from that point onwards, but it always starts with the intention. In that case they are still the best party to turn to.

Actually the problem behind the initial question evolves when you try to link one to another, if try to embed a YouTube link on Facebook. Facebook uses different strategies to give this linked video less attention than a native video (a video that is uploaded to Facebook directly). They limit the organic reach for instance or you need several clicks to play a video instead of the auto run we started this blog with. This last one is especially unpleasant when you pay to boost a video, because you have to pay for every click your audience is doing.

Happy blend
Although the facts seems to show that people still watch six times more video on YouTube than they do on Facebook don’t get yourself lost in statistics only. Maybe it is wise to consider first what the purpose is of sharing a video online to understand what is right to do for your organization. Based on that answer you might want to choose one platform over the other or you can decide to upload them on both platforms and end up with a happy blend.

In this happy blend every platform has its own challenge. On YouTube you should build a strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the big one on Facebook has to do with making a silence video attractive, because at the end every auto running video is running without sound.

Image Play by Annie Roi on flickr.com (common creative)

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