YouTube vs. Facebook

Social MediaOnline Marketing, Social

YouTube vs. Facebook

Videos are becoming increasingly important in the online marketing space, and for good reason. 90% of purchasers say that they prefer videos to help them make their buying decisions. Videos are great for memory retention, brand transparency, and establishing trust. Once you’ve spent your marketing dollars on exceptional video ads, where should you promote them online?

Before deciding which social platform to advertise your video on, it helps to understand why advertising on social media is better than advertising on a live streaming platform. NetFlix and Hulu have a large amount of revenue that they pay to motion picture companies and cable networks, compared with social media platforms which provide free, user-generated, and engaging content feeds. NetFlix recently announced that they’ve gotten rid of 3rd party advertising (as their subscription costs continue to rise), leaving Hulu as the major choice in the live streaming battle. However, at a minimum ad spend of $25k, most businesses will find social media as the clear choice in this decision.

Once it’s been determined that social media is the preferred platform based on engagement and lower ad spend, the next question is determining which social media platform is best to market your video on. We chose to highlight Facebook and YouTube as the clear winners in this decision due to a variety of different factors, most of which includes their growing audiences and affordability. Snapchat is pricey, and many advertisers are left unimpressed with their results. Twitter growth is grinding to a halt. Vimeo still has a very small, niche audience.

Facebook now has an average of 8 billion video views daily, turning it into a competitor for YouTube which currently has 400 billion video views daily. Now that Facebook is entering into the video ad space, how should advertisers choose one platform over the other?

There a few key differences between each social platform that are important to understand before pulling the trigger on one platform over the other.

  1. It’s critical to understand the differences in how each platform charges your account. While YouTube counts an impression as someone who watches your video for at least 30 seconds, Facebook counts a view as just 3 seconds. This makes YouTube the winner here when it comes to capturing meaningful impressions.
  2. Facebook’s video ads don’t display exclusively on Facebook. They’re promoted on a display network (which includes mobile apps), and Instagram. This means you’re reaching a larger audience, and will (most likely) see a higher amount of impressions.

Moz decided to do an experiment to help aid this decision-making process. They created 2 identical videos that lasted for 20 seconds, and then launched identical campaigns with the same budget targeted to the exact same demographic on Facebook and YouTube.

In this Moz study, the YouTube ad received 5,865 impressions compared to 25,451 on Facebook. YouTube’s cost per view was $.02, compared to a cost per view of $.01 on Facebook (much lower than the average CPV of a video ad rate of $.10 on Facebook and $.20 on YouTube).

…realize that the whole world is not your audience.


What causes a video ad’s cost per view to fluctuate from $.01 to $.20? Relevancy. One great marketing tip is to realize that the whole world is not your audience. Once you’ve narrowed your audience down to the demographics that really care and will react to what you’re posting, you’re prepared to address an engaged, appropriate audience. This translates to a lower cost per view, and more meaningful conversions. If your ad isn’t very targeted, however, it’s good to predict a higher CPV in advance.

So what are the best ways to promote videos online? While video ads are more expensive on YouTube than Facebook, you’ll get a more engaged video view on YouTube than Facebook. Facebook will, however, allow you to reach a larger audience through additional outlets for less ad spend.