Hot on the heels of auto-play becoming the default on YouTube, a move many see as a direct response to Facebook's rocketing success with the video feature, another salvo has been fired between the two sites. It isn’t clear whether YouTube pulled the trigger for this change or whether it was Facebook, but the fact is that Facebook is no longer included in the list of 'Connected Accounts' on YouTube, and creators can no longer automatically post their content to the social network after uploading.
You can see the changes for yourself via your settings dashboard on YouTube. Twitter remains active, but Facebook has disappeared as a connected account option:
My gut reaction is that YouTube is the owner of this move, likely pulling the feature partly to improve it and as a bit of a jab to Facebook. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the loss of this feature impacts Facebook’s traffic at all.
I’m sure we’ll see a new and improved version of connected accounts in the coming months, maybe even a version that finally includes sharing to fan pages on Facebook, something that YouTubers have been asking to have for years. I could be wrong, but I don’t find it very likely that this change was prompted by Facebook, especially when YouTube shares on the site have been on the decline lately. So that being said, what does all this mean for YouTube?
How the Removal of Facebook as a Connected Account Creators
Creators who had set up the feature have been battling inconsistencies with it for months, if not longer. But if you hadn’t checked your connected accounts lately and it WAS working, you’ll now need to post to Facebook manually. Maybe you are already using IFTTT, HootSuite, Buffer or another social media management tool, but if not it’s time to give them some serious consideration.
For creators, it may not be a huge change, as many have long since disabled the auto-share functionality to Facebook in favor of manually sharing videos to a fan page. But for account managers, having to manually complete that process for dozens of accounts may make them second guess their processes.
Should Creators Upload Video to Facebook Natively or Share?
The long-term implications have yet to be seen, but any channel that was relying heavily on auto-shares to Facebook could see a hit in the short-term if they stop posting YouTube links to Facebook or if they use this change as an opportunity to test out posting videos to Facebook natively. In either case, views, watch time and audience engagement on YouTube may suffer and could lead to a bit of a domino effect that lowers their channel or videos in search rankings. If you were posting to Facebook before, ensure you are still tapping into that audience some way.
YouTube Viewers can Still Share Videos to Facebook
The good news is that this change doesn’t really impact viewers. The share button is still alive and well for Facebook when sharing a video from its landing page. Unless your viewers have been trained to find your content primarily via Facebook, this change will probably go unnoticed by them.
I keep telling myself that there really is no battle between Facebook and YouTube, but I’m starting to fully expect a brawl to develop this year over the little jabs that keep going back and forth between the kings of search/video and the king of social. It’s almost like Facebook has been letting Google spend their time and money to learn the business of online video and now that they have it down to a science, Facebook is getting into the game themselves without having to spend a dime to get there. H/T to Carlos for alerting ReelSEO.