Last week, Twitter announced its second quarter 2015 earnings on Tuesday and Facebook announced its Q2 2015 earnings on Wednesday. Some people mistakenly think that these two social media companies, which have both launched multiple video platforms over the past two-and-a-half years, are Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But, Facebook and Twitter’s video platforms are as different as apples and oranges. They as dissimilar as cats and dogs. They have less in common than Red States and Blue States.
Twitter Video & Facebook Video = Apples & Oranges
If Facebook and Twitter get compared a lot, it’s because Wall Street thinks they are competing for the same bucket of ad dollars that will be dumped by programmatic technology over a remarkably similar set of eyeballs. But video marketers know that YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter aren’t fragmenting the online video market the way that ABC, CBS, and NBC fragmented the TV market from the early 1950s to the late 1970s.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Vine are segmenting the online video market in very different ways. Heck, there are significantly more differences among the top five video platforms than there are among the top five cable networks (by total viewers) in primetime: Fox News Channel, Disney Channel, HGTV, USA, and TNT. That’s why media companies, brands and agencies, MCNs, creators and channel managers need know what makes each these video platforms unique.
The analogy that I’ve use before is worth using again: The European market isn’t fragmented; it’s segmented. Not only does each country have its own language, each one also has its own culture and customs as well as its own folk heroes. And just because 320 million Europeans in 24 countries use the euro doesn’t mean that I’d market a product in France, Germany, Italy and Spain with the same online video that I’d created for an audience of 64 million people in the U.K. (which, of course uses the pound as its currency).
Unfortunately, many American marketers mistakenly think that the U.S. market is one giant melting pot. But the online video market is like 30+ nations of various shapes and sizes. Each one has distinctive economic and cultural characteristics. And all of them have different community dynamics.
Social Video: It's All About Reach
So, when Twitter and Facebook announced their quarterly earnings, I was hoping to get an update on some of the distinctive economic and cultural characteristics as well as the different dynamics between influencers and the community that are driving their financial results. But, here’s what I got:
Facebook Statistics: As of June 2015
- 968 million daily active users on average for June 2015.
- 844 million mobile daily active users on average for June 2015.
- 1.49 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2015.
- 1.31 billion mobile monthly active users as of June 30, 2015.
- Approximately 83.1% of Facebook’s daily active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
- There are still more than 300 million Instagrammers (no change since December 2014)
Twitter Usage: As of June 2015
- 316 million monthly active users as of June 30, 2015.
- 500 million tweets sent per day as of June 30, 2015.
- 80% of active users on mobile as of June 30, 2015.
- There are still more than 40 million registered users of Vine (no change since August 2013).
Do you notice a pattern? The vast majority of the numbers that were updated are about “reach.” Okay, so Facebook now reaches 1.49 billion monthly active users. That’s bigger than the population of China (1.37 billion). And Twitter now reaches 316 million monthly active users. That’s smaller than the population of the U.S. (322 million). But does this make China just a larger version of the U.S.? I don’t think so. So, why is “reach” the only metric that seems to matter in the digital video marketing business?
Facebook & Twitter: Becoming Primary News Sources
Fortunately, there are other sources of critical data. For example, the Pew Research Center recently published the results of a new study that found the share of Americans for whom Twitter and Facebook serve as a source of news continues to increase. It’s worth noting that this increase comes primarily from more current users discovering news on these social networking sites, rather than large uptick in users. The survey also found that users turn to Twitter and Facebook to get different types of current affairs information.
The new study found that 63% of Twitter users and 63% of Facebook users say each platform serves as a source for news about events and issues. So much for the similarities. Here are the significant differences: 59% of Twitter users say they follow breaking news on Twitter. By comparison, only 31% of Facebook users say they do so on Facebook.
According to the Pew Research Center, this lends support to the argument that “Twitter’s great strength is providing as-it-happens coverage and commentary on live events.”
Among other key findings in the new study:
- 72% of Twitter news users report seeing news about national government and politics (72% vs. 61%), 70% report seeing news about sports (70% vs. 55%), 63% report seeing news about international affairs (63% vs. 51%), and 55% report seeing news about business (55% vs. 42%). By comparison, 61% of Facebook news users report seeing news about national government and politics, 55% report seeing news about sports, 51% report seeing news about international affairs, and 42% report seeing news about business. On Twitter, women are more likely to regularly see posts about weather, entertainment, crime, and health, while on Facebook, women are more likely to regularly see posts about health, entertainment and people and events in their community.
- When it comes specifically to news and information about government and politics, Twitter users are more likely to follow news organizations, while Facebook users are more likely to post and respond to content. While 46% of Twitter users follow news organizations, reporters or commentators, only 28% of Facebook users do. However, 32% of Facebook users say they post about government and politics on Facebook, and 28% comment on these types of posts. This compares to 25% of Twitter users who tweet about this news topic and 13% who reply to tweets on this topic posted by others.
Video Marketers Need a Multi-Platform Strategy
So, video marketers need to look beyond the touts on Wall Street or the purveyors of eyeballs by the ton to create a multi-platform video strategy that will generate measurable results. “Reach” is just one of the three metrics that you will want to use. You’ll also want to understand the relevance (distinctive economic and cultural characteristics) as well as the resonance (different dynamics between influencers and the community) of each major video platform.
If you want to start tackling this assignment, may I respectfully suggest that you download the white paper, “The Rise of Multi-Platform Video: Why Brands Need a Multi-Platform Video Strategy”, which guides video marketers through the different platforms, and highlights how branded content works best on each of them. Hey, I downloaded it myself. And, did I mention that it was free?