Viral Reach, Engagement of Videos from Facebook Are Better Than YouTube Links?

SocialBakers has conducted a study pitting videos uploaded natively to Facebook versus simply providing the link from YouTube.  They found in one study that Facebook videos have a 40% higher engagement than YouTube links, and in another study, found that Facebook videos have 10 times more viral reach than YouTube links.  Now, there are a number of factors at work here that make this so, and SocialBakers speculates on why that is.  A lot of it has to do with what happens when we click on a YouTube link as opposed to watching it entirely within Facebook.

SocialBakers Study: Facebook Video Vs. YouTube Links

In SocialBakers engagement study, they found that both options performed similarly to each other when it came to Likes and Shares.  From January 22-27 they studied (with YouTube links being the obvious choice among admins) 3,684 YouTube links against 458 natively-uploaded Facebook videos.  There were double the comments with Facebook videos compared to YouTube links, as illustrated by the graph below:

Viral Reach, Engagement of Videos from Facebook Are Better Than YouTube Links? socialbakegraph

But there was a 40% engagement difference between Facebook videos and YouTube links.  Now, the reason SocialBakers gives for this is entirely reasonable: the videos show up not only in the posts but in the Fan Page video gallery, and people can watch the videos right there on Facebook without it having to jump over to YouTube.  This is something I've actually encountered with Facebook when it comes to the mobile site and YouTube links.  It can often take forever or not connect with YouTube at all.  The ability to watch a video completely on-site keeps viewers on the page and they don't have to jump around to interact.

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Further, in a study conducted from December 4th to March 3rd, SocialBakers found 10 times the viral reach with Facebook video versus YouTube links (YouTube still led in actual use, 4,371 to 554):

Viral Reach, Engagement of Videos from Facebook Are Better Than YouTube Links? socialbakegraph2

SocialBakers avoided paid media here, as they wanted to measure the reach of a video that is more "honest" about how they reach consumers.

I think there's no doubt that what SocialBakers found here had a lot to do with the ease-of-use for Facebook users to watch the video completely on-site as opposed to being re-directed to YouTube.  Obviously, it's easier for those who share video to simply upload it to YouTube, which is what a brand/marketer is going to do anyway, and then provide the link which is very easy itself.  However, getting people to jump around, even though it's not much, makes a pretty sizable difference.

Thanks to SocialBakers for their study!

  • Pat Ferdinandi

    So the recommendation is to load your video on YouTube AND Facebook. A YT link is just in a stream which may live for about 5 minutes. Uploading it to FB does allow one to keep it live more often. Question is, where are your customers? Are they on FB?

  • Dan Safkow

    But does Facebook show native videos more often than videos from YouTube in our friends streams? For instance, I seen proof that direct posts will show up more often than posts from 3rd part apps like HootSuite. FB Likes FB!

    • Mark Robertson

      absolutely great point. Also, were these links that were sent via 3rd party and therefore didnt allow YouTube to play in-line? What about the long-tail benefit within YouTube itself for having social signals from Facebook? Lots of good follow-up questions if you ask me.