There has been so much buzz lately about YouTube finally having a serious competitor or being dethroned as the top video destination. It all makes for lovely headlines, but the fact remains, YouTube is still the king of video.
It’s not just the sites ability to attract unique viewers or the view counts that make YouTube such a prime destination. Google has spent years refining the platform into something that not only supports creators and marketers but has done so in a way that is safer than other options. They’ve been through the gamut when it comes to legal proceedings and YouTube has shone as an example for how to do things the right way. There are at least 6 things competitors need to bring to the table if they truly want to be the new king.
#1 YouTube has a Robust Content ID System
Content ID is YouTube’s system for preventing fraudulent copies of videos. Copyright owners can use this system to easily identify and manage their content on the site. Video and audio content is scanned against the database and a Content ID claim is generated when there is a match. Copyright owners can choose from a number of options on how to treat the infringement, ranging from blocking or muting the video to monetizing it as their own.
YouTube is currently the only site with a robust Content ID system, one they spent a lot of time and money developing. Finding a fraudulent post of your content can be a costly and time-consuming process. YouTube’s system allows this to take place automatically. It was an important piece to what helped them avoid a major payout to Viacom and what protects content creators from having their rights violated on the site.
#2 A YouTube View Counts for More
When you see a video on YouTube with a million views there is a certain amount of faith you can put into those being real, engaged viewers. YouTube doesn’t count a view as a view until the 30 second mark in the video (although we believe this metric is for ads rather than organic uploads). Sites like Facebook and Instagram count a view after 3 seconds and Twitter even counts it as a view on click. This was a practice YouTube got away from around 2010 as it caused grossly inflated numbers that advertisers couldn’t trust and didn’t want to pay for. Bold titles and thumbnails could drive clicks to a video, but viewers were finding out quickly enough it wasn’t what they were looking for in search.
Three seconds isn’t long enough to measure a view. It might as well be a click. This is especially true when a video is auto playing and viewers may not even be aware of the fact they are watching it until it has already counted as a view.
#3 YouTube Shows in Google Search
Go ahead, give it a shot. Try searching for your favorite video on Google and see what comes up. Chances are really good the top results are YouTube videos. As a matter of fact, other video sites generally rank far behind YouTube in results. The search giant is currently not showing results for Facebook video or much of anything else at the top. You have to be very specific to get videos outside of YouTube to show up at the top of the results page in search.
Compound that with the fact that YouTube is the second largest search engine, which is a large part of why it is successful. Users can find what they want, when they want it. Facebook is in desperate need of a search function, especially if Google isn’t going to play ball and help them get their videos ranked on Google Search. If users are searching out your product, the first place they will likely look and find it right now is on YouTube/Google.
#4 YouTube is Monetized
On YouTube anyone can monetize, even your grandma. On other sites you have to be a major publisher who has signed a deal with the site to even hope of getting some revenue from your content. On some there isn’t a monetization program at all. YouTube’s monetization system is also part of the bigger Content ID picture that incentivizes users who have found a match to their copyright to leave it on the site and monetize it, rather than just remove it, the benefit of the views and the search power of the video.
#5 YouTube Videos Are Not Muted
When you click on a YouTube video or end up on one via the autoplay feature, its full go. Content creators and marketers have the advantage of using both sound and video to help draw in and attract the right audience. On sites like Facebook, Vine and Instagram, audio may not immediately play. This helps boost up view counts, but it does nothing for engaged retention. This goes back to what a YouTube view counts for a little bit. YouTube has gone to great lengths to ensure that when somebody is watching a video they either want to be there or they go away and if they disappear, that view isn’t counted. Can you really count a view on a video when sound was never playing in the first place?
#6 YouTube Has Fantastic Analytics Data
YouTube has been honing and improving their analytics for years now. They make it easier to get an overview of what is happening with your videos. Knowing the metrics of your ad or video can substantially help you improve the exposure of it and future content on the platform. It can help you to know if you are reaching your intended audience and if the video is having the desired effect. YouTube still has the best analytics of any site out there for video.
Some competitors are clearly on the right path, doing the right things. YouTube has more reason than ever to do right by creators, viewers and advertisers to maintain their position. Facebook is certainly gaining ground on YouTube and solidifying itself as the biggest threat. But all of their competitors still have a long way to go to not only protect the content creators but help them spread their video to the right audience.
YouTube is still the king in these departments, mainly due to the backbone of the system they have worked so hard to create. It will take a monumental effort to dethrone YouTube as king of video, but if another site can add the functionality that has become a key ingredient to the site’s success, it would certainly position them as the most promising competition.