Facebook Fastest Growing Video Referrer, But Still Behind Search

Facebook Fastest Growing Video Referrer, But Still Behind Search

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Facebook and Twitter are the fastest-growing referrers of video on the web, according to a new report from TubeMogul.  Called “Online Video and the Media Industry,” and produced in conjunction with Brightcove, it’s a quarterly report, and the findings cover Q2 of 2010.

It’s a 33-page summary that’s filled with interesting numbers.  These quarterly reports from TubeMogul are jam-packed with data… its information overload.  I’ve tried my best to pull out a handful of the most important findings.

Social Media Becoming Top Referrer For Video Views

Facebook and Twitter continue to surge up the list of top video referrers, growing at faster rates than any other site on the list.  Within the year, Facebook will likely overtake Yahoo and be second only to Google in traffic referred to video content, assuming that referrals from search remain flat (which we dont expect).  Here’s the chart on video referral growth:

Google Is Still Top Dog

In the study’s measure of video referral market share, Google has 64%.  Yahoo is at 11.9%, and Facebook is still trailing significantly with only 4.3%.  (Twitter, if you’re curious, is at 1.2%).

So, while it may be trendy to talk up the fact that Facebook is the fastest-growing referrer, they’re still a long way from toppling the search engines in this particular race.  What does that mean?  Search is still the most important way to get your videos found, which means Video SEO is still crucial.  That being said, Social Media Optimization (SMO) and Facebook video marketing are great ways to generate video views and engagement.

Off-Site Embeds Trail On-Site Views

For the first time, this quarterly report also measures off-site embeds in addition to on-site views.  Interestingly enough, viewers of off-site embeds tend to watch fewer minutes of a particular video than those viewers watching the same clip on the original site.  And the total views for embeds is dwarfed by the on-site view counts, as seen in this chart:

Brands Are Loving Video

Nearly 85% of brand managers surveyed say they’re using online video for marketing products and services.  And 75% of those who aren’t currently using video plan to start doing so within the next 12 months.

Brands Use Video For Awareness

A whopping 66% of brand managers surveyed said that “branding and awareness” is the number one goal of their use of online video.  Only 33% remain, with 21% using video to generate leads and 12% using it to drive sales.  That’s interesting.  Consider all the noise made back in July about whether or not Old Spice’s online video campaign had increased sales.  I argued at the time that maybe sales wasn’t even their main goal… but maybe branding and name-recognition was.  Turns out, lots of brands think like me, I guess.


It’s tempting to rush to judgment on reports like this, and boil the entire 33-page summary down to one attention-getting headline such as “Facebook Referring Tons Of Video Views” or something similar.  But that would be rushing things a bit.  As I pointed out above, Google is still the main referrer of video views, by leaps and bounds, and seems likely to hold that position for some time to come.

And part of the reason for that is the partitioned nature of the world of Facebook.  I only have so many Facebook friends.  And Facebook can only count as a video view referrer with me if I happen to watch a clip uploaded by one of my friends.  My Facebook news feed is a microcosm—just a slice of the entire online video sharing pie.  Whereas Google… well, they can show me exponentially more videos than Facebook ever can, because the results aren’t tied to my preexisting relationships.

But there are millions of videos that aren’t being indexed by Google, or at least aren’t being indexed as rapidly.  Not every video is uploaded to YouTube, and for some… it takes Google a while to find it.  Which I think is what’s slowed its referral growth some in this TubeMogul report.  But video sitemaps are going to change all that.  Video sitemaps is Google’s big initiative to help content creators get their videos indexed.  As video sitemaps become more widely understood and adopted, Google’s referrals will likely start climbing again.

As always, the wise video marketer targets multiple distribution avenues, including search engines, social networking, and more.  All viewers engage the Internet differently.  As long as there are multiple ways to share video content (email, newsletters, blogs, search, social, etc.) there will be a need to employ robust strategies that engage viewers wherever they may be.


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