Facebook Video Surging, But YouTube Still Offers Advertisers More Options
Has Facebook ‘sFB +0.99% stunning video ascendancy over the past year stolen rival YouTube’s advertising thunder just as it was gaining momentum? Has the fact that Facebook video now delivers 4 billion views a day convinced advertisers that the site is a potentially viable alternative to TV?
No, not yet, according to advertisers. Though they do acknowledge that Facebook’s video business can’t be ignored.
Major ad buyers say that Facebook’s video view numbers are undoubtedly impressive. But in terms of actual ad inventory, Facebook still pales in comparison to YouTube, which features pre-roll ads (something Facebook has shied away from) and has a more developed video ad business.
“The growth of video views on Facebook is staggering,” said Adam Shlachter, chief investment officer at Digitas. “But it’s still not 100% clear what the opportunities are to capitalize on that.”
To that end, Facebook held its non-Newfront, NewFront-like presentation for advertisers last night in New York, during which is shared details on Anthology, the company’s branded video content initiative. The affair, held at Facebook’s New York office, included presentations from companies such as Vice, Tastemade and Funny or Die.
The Anthology gathering was timed just a few days before the kickoff of the NewFronts, which are anchored by YouTube and its usually splashy event, and a few weeks before the major broadcast networks present their schedules for the coming season. All are competing for major advertisers’ marketing budgets.
While Facebook got in front of advertisers first, it hasn’t necessarily taken the wind out of YouTube’s sails–or sales. ”I don’t think what [Facebook is] doing throws a wrench in anything YouTube is doing,” said John Swift, Omnicom Media Group OMC +0.21%’s chief executive of North American investment.
To be sure, YouTube’s ad strategy is far from perfect (as WSJ reported recently, the site has struggled to reach profitability). But the Google GOOGL +1.07%-owned video behemoth has made great strides over the past few years catering to advertisers’ demands for more TV-like data and buying options, while also making a concerted effort to market its biggest stars.
And there’s no question that video ads posted on Facebook–like the “Star Wars” movie trailer–can take off like wildfire. Of course, those instances don’t always consist of solely paid media efforts.
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For example, Visible Measures looked at 82 Web video campaigns released in March that in aggregate reached 437.5 million people through a combination of paid advertising or organic, people-driven sharing. More than half of those campaigns used Facebook.
Among all the campaigns released in March, Facebook accounted for 35% of total viewership, versus 65% for YouTube. At the end of last year, Facebook’s share was in the single digits, found Visible Measures.
“There is a huge opportunity for Facebook to grab video ad dollars because of its targeting,” said Brian Shin, Visible Measures’ chief executive. “But we don’t see those dollars coming from YouTube.”
Yet Facebook doesn’t seem to be in a huge rush to fully monetize its 4 billion daily video streams. Executives declined to provide much in the way of detail about the company’s long-term plans for its video ad business during yesterday’s earnings call.
In the near term, the Anthology-branded partnership deals provide a way for the company to learn what its users like in terms of video alongside content creators and marketers.
One interesting note from last night’s gathering, according to several executives in attendance, is that Facebook and its Anthology partners spoke about using the social network’s rich data set to inform what sort of programming gets developed through these deals.
“Facebook’s focus on real identity allows for rich creative development [and] personalization at scale,” stated Steven Kydd, co-founder of Tastemade. Read more here