Facebook vs. YouTube: Who will win the video ads game?

In October 2015, Facebook rolled out  video ads. One of its main features is auto-play. Users don’t need to click or tap play; videos come to life in the news feed and start playing without sound. This feature helps the advertiser to reach potential customers by attracting visual attention without annoying the Facebook users with sound unless they choose to listen.


As you probably know, Facebook is by far the world’s largest social media network, with over 1.5 billion monthly active users. Hence, by placing ads on Facebook, advertisers can reach the largest audience compared any other platform.


Regardless of the intensive competition, YouTube and Facebook video ads are essentially different. Facebook automatically playing function track the passive and active views at the same time. Users on Facebook don’t search for content; instead, they scroll down their news feed and come across a video which starts to play automatically. This means any viewer who watches the video for at least 3 seconds, no matter if he or she likes it, is counted as a view.


In contrast, YouTube users type in a specific topic that represents what they’re looking for. The video search results contain the keyword either in the headline or description. YouTube video ads are similar to search engine optimization. Advertisers can also purchase the pre-roll ads that play ahead of organic videos with related keywords.


Basically, you can use “Discover and Search” to differentiate Facebook and YouTube video ads. They each has their own advantages, and we don’t have to choose between them. One way to optimize your visual storytelling is to put a fifteen seconds ad on Facebook to intrigue viewers, and if they are interested in your products and/or services, lead them to YouTube to watch the full-length commercial or product introduction.

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