For this review of some of the most memorable videos of last month, I’d like to take a look at the difference between a YouTube view and Facebook view. YouTube has spent years tweaking and grooming its site so that we have a fairly good idea of what a YouTube view is. It routinely removes views it deems bogus so that what you see is an honest representation of the quality of the video. There are plenty of analytics to back it up and as a result, ad dollars roll into the site and into creator’s hands freely. Facebook views run a little differently, with autoplay masking what a view really is, leaving me wondering if they are even operating on the same level playing field as YouTube?
One statistic I tend to trust more than others on YouTube is the ratio from views to likes. A good ratio for likes is about 4% of views, so if a video is in that ballpark with like/dislike activity, you can usually make the safe assumption that the views, likes and shares are representative of an engaged audience. Viewers who are stopping by to watch the video are more likely to have visited it on purpose, have a reason to watch it and take quantifiable action based on it. A less engaged audience may be one that has been tricked into watching it via auto play, duped by the thumbnail or title, or fed the video as part of a paid-for view campaign. Let’s take a look at some of the videos that hit the big time last month, and the differences in YouTube and Facebook engagement.
President Obama’s Anger Translator Goes Viral
I absolutely had to make this the first example this month. Any time the POTUS relaxes and has fun with his position of power, I find it supremely entertaining. I don’t know and don’t care whether or not somebody in his position should be doing it, but all I know it is funny and I like it. Viewers also enjoyed it to the tune of about 35 million views, 520k likes and 715k shares on Facebook and another 5.2 million views, 47k likes and 30k shares on YouTube.
If we do some quick math, neither video meets the 4% rule of thumb, but, surprisingly Facebook was closer by significant margin. One major difference may be that the White House shared the Facebook link, while CNN shared the YouTube version of this video. Any time you can take a serious situation and make it funny, it’s a win for audiences, and in this case, for the Democrats too.
The Internet Goes Wild for the Pie In The Face Game
This video is a whole bunch of issues wrapped into one. First, the video was originally published to Facebook as verified by Jukin Media. The original post generated over 37 million views, 350k likes and 700k shares. Then, what appears to be a freebooted version was posted by UNILAD the next day and has grabbed about 80 million views, 1 million likes and another 1.47 million shares. Meanwhile, the Jukin Media repost to YouTube attracted only 75k views, 2.6k likes and only 271 shares.
What in the world is going on here? The engagement on YouTube is fairly consistent with a quality audience. Meanwhile, the organic growth from the original Facebook page had less than 1% likes whereas the re-posted copy on Facebook had around 1.25% likes. Facebook is succeeding right now at getting their videos in front of the right audience, even when YouTube gets better engagement.
Even if we discount 50, 60, even 80% of the views pulled in by this video on Facebook as mindless auto plays, it still completely dwarfs the YouTube version of the same video! The Facebook audience begins to look massively more engaged with likes and shares per view as well, so it appears Facebook is the better platform for uploading video to the right audience. But, where does the truth lie in these numbers, that’s the million dollar question here. More robust analytics from Facebook could shed some light on that truth?
Dear Future Generations, Sorry: 55M More Views on Facebook Than YouTube
I happen to be a fan of Prince EA, who not only has a brilliant ability to rap, but he does so with purpose and to raise awareness. So when I saw the success one of his latest posts was having on Facebook compared to YouTube I just had to bring it into this discussion.
He has a very loyal and engaged audience on YouTube who helped push the video there to around 650k views, 29k likes and 17k shares. That’s a pretty awesome start for the video, and more than beats the 4% mark for good engagement. I’d also like to point out that this video enjoyed a good part of its growth due to Earth Day, another example of a well-timed tent pole event video marketing strategy.
The Facebook post of the video, posted natively by Prince EA, was able to snag about 56 million views, 750k likes and 1.6 million shares. I can only imagine the revenue generated by this video with a proper pre-roll tacked on front. In this case, the YouTube audience is much more engaged overall by more than triple measured by the like count. But once again the Facebook view count is absolutely dwarfing the YouTube views. I’d almost go so far as to call a Facebook view more like an impression than a view, but they are getting so many more impressions that it doesn’t even matter. More of them appear to be turning into engaged viewers to the point that the net benefit of posting to Facebook is there.
As Matt Gielen said in his interview with us this month, Facebook is definitely a platform that you should keep an eye on. I am an absolute skeptic when it comes to the value of a Facebook view, but time after time I come across videos that are doing well on YouTube and absolutely killing it on Facebook. Even if you take those views with a grain of salt, the ability for Facebook appears to be undeniable if you accept even just the shares and likes as truth. The data that Facebook has on us is being put to good use for video and those videos are getting so many impressions that they can’t help but succeed when put in front of the right audience.
Viral Videos 2015: Honorable Mentions
Last Episode of Jake and Amir
It would be a crime not to give a nod to the last episode of Jake and Amir this month. The series has been a mainstay for College Humor and on YouTube since 2007 with around 750 episodes. Oh sheesh y’all, I’m going to miss this series. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear after watching the final episode. Thanks for the all the laughs and here’s to getting the green light with TBS guys!
Pouring Molten Aluminum in a Watermelon
This video is just too cool and a great example of trying anything that sounds like fun and putting it to video. At worst you get what you expect and at best you have a happy accident that everyone wants to see and by everyone I mean about 9.5 million YouTube viewers.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2
Don’t think for a moment I didn’t cover this video. If you missed our coverage, it actually had its own entire post!