Commentary

The Super Bowl Will Be Measure Of Facebook's Video Success

When Facebook announced last fall that its video metrics would be made public, the media began to speculate. Would this data prove that Facebook had the potential to overtake YouTube as a video platform?

We’ve learned a few things since then. We know that the number of videos uploaded directly to Facebook surpassed the number of YouTube videos posted on Facebook for the first time in November, according to Socialbakers. That same agency found that content creators uploaded 50% more videos to Facebook directly in June 2014 than they did in January, and that number is ever-increasing.

Facebook is also the most popular social network on mobile devices, and mobile social activity has edged out desktops for overall time online, according to a study conducted by comScore in May 2014.

But YouTube still dominates video uploads and overall viewership. Every minute 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, triple the amount in 2013, according to a Google spokeswoman who spoke with Business Insider. The same article also points to a 50% increase in the hours of video viewed monthly since May 2013.

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While YouTube still seems to reign over the video space, it seems inevitable that Facebook -- with its huge user-base of 1.35 billion active monthly users 00 will continue to cut into YouTube’s market share.

If consumers are increasingly engaging with Facebook video content, then shouldn’t brands be uploading their videos directly to the site? Our analysis of campaigns released since November revealed that while Facebook’s share of viewership increased over the pass three months, it is still lower than that of YouTube because not all brands are using Facebook yet.

That doesn’t mean that Facebook video isn’t proving incredibly successful for brands. Apple’s “The Song,” for instance, garnered 24.2 million views, 20.9 million of which came from a video posted on Facebook. And Samsung’s “Home for the Holidays” generated 6.8 million of its 28.6 million views on Facebook.

The most successful campaigns on Facebook are those that post full-length content on the platform. But most of the brands that are using Facebook are only using it to distribute teaser content, which never performs as well as the full-length video.

This explains why Facebook’s total share of branded video viewership is still low compared to YouTube: Brands aren’t using it in quite the same way they use YouTube -- yet.

For years, media and consumers alike have relied on YouTube to grade and rank the most popular ads of the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XLIX, however, will be the first major media event where Facebook video could play a major role in the distribution of ads.

Given the huge cost of a Super Bowl campaign, brands will want to take advantage of any platform available for dissemination of content, especially one with as large a user base as Facebook, and as influential a discovery tool as the Facebook Newsfeed. And given the fact that comScore research shows Facebook’s share of U.S. video views rose from 10% to 18% just between March and November, while YouTube’s share fell from 24% to 21%, it will be extremely important for brands to have a presence on Facebook.

Thus, the Super Bowl will likely be the first time we will get a concentrated sample of Facebook’s performance. And brands’ use of Facebook video during the Super Bowl could provide a glimpse into the future of video distribution, something ever-changing, with new players entering the universe all the time.
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