This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.

Over the past number of months Facebook has been making a big push on video content and has been boasting about its growing number of video views in comparison to other services such as YouTube. The problem is that we see these comparisons and we quickly assume that people are jumping ship, that Facebook is gaining momentum and YouTube is being left behind. However, these comparisons are not entirely accurate, far from it in fact.

It all boils down to how the two services count views on the platform. Facebook counts a view if the video has been playing for just 3 seconds and videos are set to autoplay by default. This means that all you really need to do is scroll past a video on your Newsfeed and it will be counted as a view, regardless of whether you look at the video or not.

YouTube takes an entirely different approach, the videos don’t autoplay when you scroll past them, you have to make a choice to click on a video and view it. Now it is true that YouTube does incorporate autoplay to an extent, at the end of the video you are watching the next video in line will autoplay. However, viewing on YouTube requires active participation from the community as opposed to Facebook where you may be contributing to views and not even know it.

On top of that, the timeframe for what counts as a view is different on YouTube, a view is generally counted after 30 seconds. Comparing views on Facebook to views on YouTube is not an entirely accurate representation on who is coming out on top in the video content wars.

Susan Wojcicki is YouTube’s CEO, she spoke at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference and she is not worried about the growing level of competition in the market. YouTube has been the home of video content on the web for the last decade, Facebook seems to be a legitimate challenger reaching 4 billion video views per day. However Wojcicki herself says that the views are different as YouTube views specifically click to watch clips.

“We want our users to engage. We want them to not be channel surfing, We want them to say, ‘I saw a video, I cared about that video, I commented on that video, and I continued watching it.’”

Wojcicki believes that online video is growing fast enough for new entrants to thrive and states that Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have recognised a big opportunity in the market. Wojcicki also stated that the company is focused on mobile and that there is a big pipeline of projects ongoing behind the scenes.

It is to early at the moment to tell who is going to come out on top, the significant difference at the moment is how views are counted. We know that YouTube users are highly engaged due to the fact that they actively make a decision to watch a video, comment, like or share it. Facebook however is harder to gauge because a view is counted so quickly, literally in the time it takes to scroll past a video you can count a view on it. So how many Facebook video viewers are engaged in comparison to YouTube?

Would the numbers change drastically if Facebook counted views in the same way? Its hard to tell for certain however at the moment it is safe to say what any articles you see claiming that Facebook is definitely the future of video or that YouTube is doomed are premature articles lacking context.


About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis. He has an Advanced Diploma in Psychology and a Diploma in Digital Marketing And Social Media. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here. Or you can drop Mark an email at, [email protected]

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