Studies have been done that indicate when you upload a video directly to Facebook, your potential for viral reach is ten times higher than when you use a YouTube link. That doesn’t include paid reach as sponsoring posts or videos is completely dependent on the marketing budgets of individual companies. Our own experiments, although not as formal or extensive as those done by Social Bakers, have still shown a very healthy 208% increase (or a bit more than 2x) in reach with a video uploaded directly to Facebook as opposed to a YouTube link. So why is there such a big difference in the reach?

Well, for one Facebook and Google are in an arms race. They both want to be your number one destination on the web, including for video. YouTube being owned by Google means that Facebook is going to give any native uploads some sort of preferential treatment. So Facebook is essentially giving a “thumbs up” to content shared directly on its platform first (thumbs up, get it? The LIKE icon, oh nevermind).

What exactly does this mean? Take a look at the example we’ve created to illustrate this point below. The first example is the thumbnail and description created when a video was uploaded directly to the Adelie Studios Facebook page:



Impressive no? Look at how the thumbnail fills the news feed column. There’s a play button embedded including the time of play so the viewer knows how long the video is.

Now for a comparison, let’s take a look at a YouTube video link:



So it has the play button but look at how tiny the thumbnail is? Images grab people’s attention in their news feeds. The bigger the image the better and the YouTube thumbnail is only about a third of the size of the Facebook video.

That’s the desktop version comparison, but what does it look like on a mobile phone? Here’s the video uploaded directly to Facebook:



And here’s that same YouTube link posted to our Facebook page:



Same results with real estate dedicated on the page. Facebook direct uploads fill the news feed. I guess it should be no surprise that this is also the case for mobile as Marketing Charts 62.6% of smartphone and tablet owners who access Facebook prefer to log in from their mobile devices. Facebook is going to give preferential treatment for video uploaded directly to Facebook no matter what device the end user is viewing it from.

So what’s the takeaway here? If you are looking to garner views and conversation on your Facebook page then you should definitely be posting your videos directly to Facebook. The treatment they provide for video content added to their site versus posting a YouTube link speaks for itself in the examples above.

If ultimately your goal is to drive traffic to your website (the answer in most cases should be yes) then you should take advantage of posting images directly to your Facebook feed that look like a video with a play button. Here’s an example:



As you can see just underneath the image and page title, this link is on our website. On Facebook you have the option to upload an image for any link that you post. You can simply create an image by taking a screenshot of the video on the web page or if you have a creative team member, have them create the image for you that you can then upload to Facebook when you post the link. So adding an image like the above only makes sense. Then you can use share video on Facebook but drive viewers to your website where you can control their experience much better than you can on Facebook.

What about you, have you used video to market your business on Facebook?

Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts