Twitter and Facebook step up video plans with billions of views per day
James R | On 07, Feb 2015
Twitter and Facebook are stepping up their video plans on the back of results that show each site records billions of views per day.
Twitter made its first move into video with its increasingly prolific Vine app – the GIF-like short video service that prompted Instagram to follow suit with its own, similar format. Now, Vine records more than 1.5 billion loops a day, Twitter revealed in its latest quarterly statement.
During the company’s earnings call, CEO Dick Costolo confirmed that the social network was firmly getting behind its recently announced Twitter video feature to let Twitter users capture, edit and share videos within the Twitter app.
“We’re clearly at the very beginning of mobile video sharing and we’ll see with video what we’ve seen with photos – an abundance of creation and consumption happening from the device we have with us all the time,” he said.
It’s a big step for Twitter, but one that’s also being taken by Facebook, as the two companies throw their weight into the mobile video arena. With devices connected on the go, viewing is more and more common, and the social networks’ active user bases offer strong potential for both to rival YouTube’s already established community.
Facebook passed the 1 billion views milestone in June last year, placing it far ahead of Twitter, although Facebook also has an autoplay function to boost viewing activity. As a result, in Q4 2014, Facebook recorded 3 billion videos viewed on its site every day. Combined with 890 million active users daily, that means users watch around 3 videos per day each.
In the US, more than 50 per cent of users who visit Facebook daily watch at least one video daily, although it is not clear how many of those are automatic plays.
— Daredevil (@Daredevil) February 4, 2015
For each company, that growth spells out opportunities for advertising revenue.
Costolo comments: “We’ve also been bringing video to Twitter through publishers and advertisers over the last several months via both our Amplify program and our rollout of video.twitter.com tools to professional publishers.”
COO Sheryl Sandberg observes: “It’s exciting that we’ve gotten to 3 billion video views per day because it shows that consumers like video. That gives us an opportunity to grow our video advertising.”
“What really matters is that consumers are using videos on Facebook,” she explains, “video ads would be very jarring.”
YouTube has already cornered the market of video distributing – and, crucially, video advertising. According to research from Social Baker studying the first three quarters of 2014, though, Facebook’s video platform is growing at the expense of its rival.
“The standard process was to create a video, publish it to YouTube and share it via Facebook,” says the report. “However, the recent trend is clearly showing that content marketers are directly uploading video content to Facebook, meaning that Facebook is retaining the traffic at the expense of YouTube.”
At the start of last year, YouTube’s share of video pots was almost double that of Facebook, but during the second and third quarters of the year, Facebook’s share jumped 50 per cent.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) February 4, 2015
Is this the start of a shift in the online video market?
At the end of last year, we spoke to Tom Jenkins, the Channel Manager of Mashed, which is produced by YouTube company The Connected Set (who create content for Channel 4 and others).
“I think Facebook definitely has potential to become an established video platform,” he told us. “Looking at some of the viewing numbers I’ve seen on videos I think you could argue it already is an established video platform (especially when you consider all the the ways they’re working to optimise Facebook native videos, the auto-play feature and analytics/advertising dashboard updates they’ve rolled out). I’m sure YouTube numbers wise will still be way out ahead, but that’s to be expected. They are the dominant, number 1 player in this field and a key part of Google.”
Jenkins added that Facebook – and by extension, we would argue, Twitter – has one key advantage over YouTube:
“I think one thing that’s interesting for me, is that Facebook’s key advantage is that the videos that pop up on your newsfeed are curated by your friends, people we know in real life and therefore understand instinctively. If your best mate likes a video for me that’s a much stronger call to action than maybe even your favourite YouTube channel. Facebook is already a top traffic source for a lot of YouTube channels, maybe the number one source outside of YouTube itself.”
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next 12 months or so.”