While much has been made of Facebook’s video ambitions, including its $1 billion investment in its new Watch platform, research shows that YouTube is still the dominant platform for video. Not only is YouTube the social platform most used by US adults (73%), a recent survey reports that YouTube beats out Facebook as the social media platform most used by people who watch videos, as well as the platform deemed most effective for video marketing by marketers. When it comes to building engaged audiences with video, YouTube has several key advantages.
Research shows that longer videos tend to outperform shorter videos on YouTube, and in fact, thirty-three percent of total view time on YouTube is attributed to long-form content. Part of this is thanks to YouTube’s efforts to encourage creators and publishers to upload broadcast-type programming as it aims to compete with television for consumer attention. As media companies and daily vloggers began posting longer videos, the YouTube algorithm rewarded them. While the algorithm isn’t exactly transparent, it’s clear that fostering an engaged audience that watches large amounts of video leads to increased exposure on the platform.
While there is currently a debate about whether TV is dying or evolving, the concept of appointment viewing has shifted to the internet. In a classic example, families would gather in the living room to watch their 8 PM primetime show on a national television network. This same concept has now migrated to YouTube. When videos are uploaded on a consistent, reliable schedule, people are more likely to return. While BuzzFeed is experimenting with its handful of successful series by releasing content across platforms with a “universal window,” YouTube is originally where these shows found and built their audiences with appointment viewing. Further demonstrating this point, the animal-loving brand The Dodo has reported longer completion rates on YouTube as compared to other channels due to the platform’s “sofa mentality.”
As brands try to tap into younger audiences, YouTube has become more of a place to be. In fact, according to a recent Pew Research survey, it’s the platform of choice for the majority of the younger demographic; 94 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds say they use YouTube, compared to 80 percent who say they use Facebook. With the rise of influencers and vloggers, these young audiences passionately subscribe and religiously follow these social media personalities.
When people come to YouTube, they come with the intent to watch videos—and watch them for a while. A recent study shows that 25 percent of YouTube users spend an hour or more daily on the platform. Meanwhile, other social platforms aren’t seen as go-to video destinations. Though they are increasingly trying to change that perception with new offerings—including Facebook’s Watch platform and Twitter’s investment in livestream partnerships—YouTube still has the advantage of a long-standing reputation as the place to watch videos.
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