As a business focused on creating comedic video content for brands, YouTube has been instrumental to the work that we do. The platform has functioned as the primary home for the majority of our creations, and we’ve garnered millions of subscribers and views. While this is great, we are always looking for new ways to evolve our offerings and new ways to boost ROI for our clients. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about other platforms and have lately become especially interested in the potential of Facebook Watch. YouTube casts a long shadow and, consequently, not many know about the valuable benefits that Facebook Watch is able to offer content creators on the platform.
We’ve learned a lot as we’ve expanded our catalogue of services, and changing up the video platforms we operate on has had a really positive effect that we’d like to share. Here are some considerations for diversifying your streaming services as well as some tips for how to make the most of Facebook Watch.
Consider Which Platform Will Actually Reach Your Audience — When it comes to video, it’s no surprise that YouTube is the tried and true go-to. It’s used by 1,300,000,000 people and about 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. In terms of being a video marketing channel, it is an absolute juggernaut. By putting your video on YouTube, you have the potential to reach an unparalleled amount of people. The catch is that there is a limited amount of control you have on whose eyes you can get your video content in front of. You also need to make sure your content is compelling enough to compete with the noise of hundreds of thousands of other videos al vying for the viewer’s attention. So yes, there is a major advantage to YouTube (they have even put a lot of thought into the kinds of video editing tools available directly on the platform), but the mass of users means that content is king, and there is no guarantee you’ll be seen at all.
On the other hand, one major advantage to Facebook Watch is that it is fully integrated with the entire Facebook marketing toolkit. Not only is that toolkit very flexible, the user base of Facebook is incredibly engaged. They can share their interests, hobbies, passions, and more in a way that YouTube doesn’t capture. In other words, marketers can get hyper-targeted in a way that YouTube is unable to pinpoint. Instead of shooting (mostly) blind to a general pool of potentially interested users who will likely just hit “skip,” Facebook Watch allows you to speak directly to those who would actually be interested in your message. The point is that one platform may give you sheer numbers while the other will give you a granular perspective of who is watching your work. Digital marketers need to pay careful attention to where their audience is viewing them most, and understand how to better engage them depending on the platform.
Tailor Your Content to The Platform – No matter which platform you choose to focus on, you should be making sure that the video content you post is formatted best for that platform. For example, Facebook Watch and YouTube vary quite a bit on format – simply posting the same video to both is not going to work. This is an instance in which YouTube tends to be the most flexible, as the platform accepts most types of video, and the context in which users are viewing those videos is fairly uniform. In the case of Facebook Watch, it is a little more involved. Two major differences concern aspect ratio and subtitles. 1×1 proves to be the most reliable aspect ratio to work on Facebook Watch (as it fits most phone screens and easily streamlines into a scrolling newsfeed). If the aspect ratio looks wonky, you’ve already lost interest. Additionally, audio is also not typically enabled on Facebook Watch the same way it is on YouTube. Again, it comes down to considering the context of the platform.
Consider The Longevity of Your Content — While it may not be easy to summarize exactly how an algorithm on a video platform may function, what can be emphasized is considering how content will perform on a platform long after it has been posted there. Facebook Watch comes out a bit ahead in this aspect when compared to YouTube. Facebook Watch has the added bonus of being connected to the Facebook network of users at large and, by way of that, will push quality content to that network. If users continue to engage with that content, Facebook Watch will continually seed it to newsfeeds long after the original post. While this is possible in theory on YouTube, there is a much smaller window for when a video can succeed and take off, or else get buried.
Capture Your Audience’s Attention — Something both platforms share is an extremely tight window for grabbing the user’s attention. That window is 30 seconds – that’s all the time you have to create a genuine engagement. From there, Facebook Watch tends to be more suited for short, bite-sized video content (significant drop-off happens at the 5 minute mark), whereas users expect larger video on YouTube, where there is more of a commitment similar to Netflix or Hulu. As mentioned, it is extremely important to consider the context in which the user is viewing the video content. It can make or break whether or not the user stays engaged or checks out.
No matter which platform you choose to focus on, it is important to try all of them and experiment. Maybe one channel will take off in a way that is different from the other, and maybe that reveals something previously unknown about your audience. The only way to discover that is through nurturing the video element of your digital marketing campaigns. Video adds a significant source of discovery and success when added to the marketing toolkit, and the potential goes far beyond YouTube.