Why Facebook Is Smashing YouTube For Festive Video Discovery

John Lewis has once again earned the title of most viewed and shared Christmas ad, but there is actually a good case for another well-known brand being the video winner of Christmas 2016 -- Facebook!

New research out from Socialbakers shows that the social media giant drove a whopping 90% of interactions with this year's Christmas tv ads and 60% of views. That compares with just under 40% of views coming from YouTube. The brands dominating the top ten most-talked about Christmas ads were, as you would imagine, John Lewis in the number one spot followed by M&S and Waitrose.  

There really is no surprise there. Where there should be eyebrows raised is Facebook's dominance in branded content. If Socialbakers is correct, nine in ten of every interaction with a Christmas television ad occurred on Facebook. OK -- so the site does lend itself to interaction with a range of emojis as well as the historic "like" and "share" facility. Just as well, because it's exactly what brands want to happen to the television ad -- be liked, reacted, commented on and shared. 

It is this interaction that is at least as important as the number of views, possibly even more important, because it shows it wasn't just something playing in the background. An interaction shows that the viewer not only saw the content but engaged with it enough to register an emotion or comment that was duly shared with friends.

On the viewing side, however, that stat of 60% of the top ten Christmas ads coming through Facebook -- compared to nearly all the rest coming from YouTube -- surely has to ring alarm bells at Google. It surely has to show that holy grail term of all video marketing, going viral, is now being driven by interactions. It's by friends sharing and liking videos that we get to see them. Not convinced? OK -- how many times have you liked or shared a video in Facebook in the past week? A handful, at least, probably? When was the last time you emailed a friend a YouTube video or gave it a thumbs up or down? If you're anything like me, you're probably in the "something I've done but can't tell you how many times recently" category.

That's basically the answer that sums up Facebook's bright future in video and will see Google asking itself how the social giant managed to steal a march on it. Sure, YouTube is the destination site for video viewers who want to watch something specific. It might be a term they will have to search for or it could be a vlogger's latest installment. Facebook, however, looks like it's now the leader in video discovery -- albeit the most accidental and vicarious. 

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