Who to choose in the battle over paid video advertising? YouTube and Facebook go head-to-head

By November 16, 2015 Stories

By 2016, the amount of people that watch traditional TV channels is expected to decline for the first time. Video viewing and sharing platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are expected to see continued growth, with the time spent consuming online videos to rise by 19.8% next year. This opens the gate for online video platforms to show marketers that video marketing is serious business. Take a read to discover how YouTube and Facebook are battling it out to vie for marketers’ attention in the online marketing sphere.

Since its creation in 2005, and its buy-out from online giant Google in 2006, YouTube has risen to become the most viewed and used online video platform. With over 3 trillion views and 1.4 billion users per year, it’s hard to think that there may be a time when Facebook could overtake YouTube as the premier video-sharing website. However, with Facebook pushing their Advertising for Business, their video views grew to 2 trillion and the amount of users rose to 1.3 billion in 2014, YouTube is having to step up their game. Facebook is quickly becoming a major competitor for YouTube in terms of winning marketing revenue from small and large companies alike. Facebook are bringing their video marketing efforts in line with YouTube’s successful advertising strategy. Facebook recently developed auto-play, a function that starts video play as a user scrolls past. They have also rolled out video ads to appear before video content begins, with users having to view an advert if they want to watch the content. This will help to clinch more advertising deals than ever, because brands want as many people as possible to view their adverts.


YouTube’s major advantage is that viewers experience deeper engagement with videos. The point of YouTube is to search for specific content, so a user is more likely to view the relevant ad too rather than skip over it. Although YouTube could argue that Facebook would struggle to engage viewers to the same degree, Facebook racks up 3 billion video views per day. So it’s not just a case of engagement…


Of course YouTube have targeting abilities that get an ad to the right people, but if targeted campaigns are what an advertiser is looking for, Facebook could hold the ticket. It holds more personal data of its’ users, and it could offer precise targeted campaigns that are based on user behaviour. Advertisers can get to the customers that matter, whether in niche or specific markets. This is what Facebook have to say: ‘Because Facebook targeting is based on real people and not cookies (or other identity proxies), we can more accurately control the reach and frequency across devices to better help advertisers achieve their business goals.’

YouTube Red

Potentially another factor in Facebook’s favour is YouTube Red, which is to be launched later this year. YouTube Red is a £6.50 per month service that will give viewers the option to go ad-free. Until its launch, it is unclear how many users will take YouTube up on this service – and how it will affect advertisers. It may mean that YouTube would be restrictive in terms of reaching certain audiences. So far, YouTube does not have an official statement on the affect of the service on their advertisers. However, we cannot forget that the amount of users who stay with the freemium option will still be more than adequate for marketers to take advantage of.

Here at KC Communications, we think that YouTube is great for engaging viewers, particularly with their TV campaigns (ironically, but they do have to advertise somewhere…!) that feature super-blogger Zoella, and The Slow Mo Guys. Whereas, we think that Facebook is great at allowing users to interact with content, such as sharing and liking. This can send content to viral, dizzying heights, and this in turn promotes the attached video adverts.

Although, if advertisers want to achieve TV-Level reach, then the answer is to utilize both platforms. A holistic approach combining engagement and reach is the future for brand advertising.

In the meantime, while advertisers have been busy considering the benefits of each video platform, YouTube and Facebook have become locked in a bitter battle over marketers’ revenue…