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Can Facebook Watch Compete with YouTube?

It’s the digital video revolution. People are slowly weaning off traditional TV consumption and embracing video on the net.

So it isn’t surprising that Facebook, after conquering the other social media networks and being dubbed the king of social media, now wants to try its hand at video hosting and sharing, an online realm dominated by YouTube.

Facebook is indeed innovating. It isn’t stealing creators and users from YouTube yet but it will be interesting to watch how things will develop between these two giants and how social media users will react.

For now, let’s take a closer look at Facebook’s new video platform and how it compares to YouTube.

The New Facebook Watch

Facebook introduced Facebook Watch through a blog post as a new way to watch shows on the platform. It’s initially available to U.S. users but will soon roll out to everyone.

fb watchImage credit: Newsroom Facebook

Facebook Watch will be replacing the video button. It will appear in the app on the navigation bar at the top as a TV icon that when clicked will open into the video hub.

FB Watch will have both live and recorded shows. The videos will have categories like “Most Talked About” for what’s popular, “What’s Making People Laugh” for funny videos, and “Shows Your Friends Are Watching” for videos your friends like.

This last category can be particularly powerful in engaging users on the platform because it plays on human emotions and needs. This FOMO or Fear of Missing Out can drive social media engagement.

So if you’re looking to increase your YouTube views, for example, you can use FOMO by buying YouTube Views to improve your social proof. Having a massive view count on your videos will effectively convey how cool your videos are and can help drive more, real views to them.

michael scottImage credit: BuzzFeed

So, the new Facebook Watch will feature original shows from digital channels like ATTN and TV channels like National Geographic, but it was created not to compete with Netflix or HBO but to pull in viewers from YouTube.

Facebook Watch will also have videos from individuals and regular users on the platform. In other words, it will also showcase creators producing their own user-driven videos. Exactly like YouTube.

Can Facebook Watch take on YouTube?

With a company backed by billions of dollars, Facebook poses a big threat to YouTube. Still, Google, YouTube’s parent company, is bigger than Facebook.

If it’s just a battle of who has deeper pockets, YouTube is the clear winner. Obviously, there are other factors that will decide the fate of both, and they will end up sharing a large user base.

who winImage credit: engagementlabs

While we can’t deny that Facebook has more active users than YouTube, the question remains whether Facebook can convert those users into strong repeat Facebook Watch users.

It’s worth noting though, that Facebook aims to create a more personalized social experience for each user by recommending videos based on their likes and what their friends are watching. This is how they differ with YouTube and it might also be the ace that will tilt the scale in Facebook’s favor.

How Facebook Watch will Change the Industry

Facebook Watch still has a long way to go but from its early data, it does look like it might change the video marketing landscape.

Facebook wants to establish a longer video watching experience for its viewers.  Most Watch videos have a TV-episode-style length and Facebook favors those long videos.

Facebook wants to keep people on the platform longer and they might just succeed at that. Because Watch suggests videos according to the viewing history of users, and what they and their friends like, longer and interest-specific videos shared among groups of friends may, indeed, keep those users from leaving the platform.

That will definitely affect watch and retention time on Watch and this will make an impact on YouTube. Being able to publish longer videos with higher retention time will be huge for marketers and advertisers.

What Facebook Watch Will Mean for YouTube Creators and Marketers

If Facebook succeeds in conditioning Facebook users to expect longer videos from the get-go, creators can definitely benefit from this longer video format. Longer videos can mean longer watch time and they’ll also have plenty of freedom to make longer stories.

Additionally, because Facebook Watch is monetized through ad breaks, longer videos can also mean more effective mid-roll ads, which is great for marketers and advertisers alike. On Facebook Watch, 55% of mid-roll ad revenue goes to partners while Facebook keeps the 45%.

Facebook plans to integrate Watch videos with its News feed and they’re putting much emphasis on Facebook Watch’s “community” environment where they expect users to not just watch but also share, comment and react all together. Marketers can boost their online presence through Watch where they can find a captive and engaged group of audience.

Conversely, YouTube is not likely to take this lying down. Two days before Facebook’s announcement, YouTube, possibly in anticipation of Facebook’s move, also introduced a new functionality that will add a layer of “community” experience for its users.

YouTube added an in-app chat to its Android and iOS apps. Before, users could only share videos via other apps, but now you can also share videos natively within YouTube. You can share and receive videos, reply with another video, invite others to join in the conversation, and more.

Indeed, it’ll be wise to keep your presence on both platforms and just reap the benefits you can get from both.

Incidentally, if you want to expand your reach on YouTube, you can build your authority and attract more viewers as well as subscribers by buying YouTube Views. People like watching videos with lots of views and that’s how your bought views will attract real, organic views. Nobody wants to be last to see a popular video.

YouTube or Facebook? Or Both?

It’s still best not to put all your eggs in one basket or choose between Facebook Watch and YouTube.

It’s better to focus some marketing efforts on both to remain relevant to your entire audience, on both platforms. Remember that Facebook and YouTube have different demographics and presentation styles.

At the end of the day, it’s not YouTube’s nor Facebook’s financial and technical commitment to innovate that will decide which one will dominate the video scene, but the end user’s reception of their products. When the decision time arrives, that’s where we’ll all be watching.


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