Facebook Video Vs Youtube: Which is Best?

17th Aug, 2011

Using video to promote brands is becoming increasingly important in marketing. With good quality, inexpensive cameras, it’s getting easier to shoot, edit and upload video content. It’s easier for fans too, which makes them more inclined than ever to upload something to your website, blog or Facebook page spontaneously, or as part of a competition.

Video Content on Facebook

There are two main options for using video on Facebook. You can use its proprietary video application (Videos) or opt to integrate a Youtube channel into your Facebook page using a number of free applications.

But which is the best option for you? From a brand perspective you have to work out what you want to achieve with your videos, in order to figure out which one suits. Here’s a quick overview to help decide.

Facebook Video

  • Videos can be up to 20 minutes long.
  • You can tag people in the videos.
  • People who aren’t fans of your brand can ‘like’ your Facebook page from within the video clip, just by hovering the mouse over the video screen.

Youtube Video

  • Clips can be up to 15 minutes long.
  • A Youtube tab on Facebook can look much slicker than the Facebook Video tab.
  • A Youtube channel can also be used to direct traffic from Youtube to your Facebook page.
  • A Youtube clip will more than likely rank higher in Google search results than a Facebook video.
  • Youtube tabs can display the number of views a clip receives. Displaying the views can work in favour of popular clips to increase the likelihood others will view them.
  • Youtube has online editing features.
  • Youtube annotations allow for on-screen menu options that viewers can interact with to bring them to other brand videos.
  • Youtube Insights is more detailed than Facebook’s Insights for video.

Search & Discovery

Both types of videos are easy to share and embed, however Youtube can also provide your page with an important source of traffic by promoting a link to your page in the video description, or onscreen by using the annotation features.

Youtube viewers watch a staggering 150 years of video every single day! When you think about it how often have you been sent a viral video that is hosted on Facebook video? I can’t think of one, they’re always embedded Youtube clips. A reason for that may lie in the fact it’s easier to find clips on Youtube, be it using Youtube search or Google search. Facebook video’s just don’t rank in Google search so based on that alone the decision is clear. With Google so dominant in search and their ongoing battle with Facebook, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Even this discussion on the subject of video SEO doesn’t sway me to put Facebook Video ahead of Youtube.

Bizarrely enough Facebook search doesn’t even include a filter to search for videos. That makes it almost impossible for people to casually find your video on Facebook. The only chance of people discovering it is if a friend posts it to their wall. While you can embed Facebook Video’s on external websites, they come without the in-video Like option.

Some recent Irish research (PDF), points to Youtube as being the number one destination online when people are seeking entertainment. It was mentioned by 34% of respondents, while Facebook was only in second place mentioned by 16%. Even if you were putting up tutorials online, which may not exactly be deemed ‘entertainment’, Youtube is a better home.


If you intend to add videos on a fairly regular basis then setting up a separate Youtube channel will be worthwhile. The channel will come into it’s own by pulling in viewers who may not have come across your other online assets, while also acting as a source of traffic to them. If, however, you intend to add only a couple of videos per year then stick with Facebook Video – it will be easier to maintain.

There is a case for using both, mostly to take advantage of the Facebook Like feature. If you have some truly killer content and want to capture as many new fans as possible, and don’t mind losing some of your Youtube views count to Facebook Video (which doesn’t display views), then by all means use both. Just make sure to maintain both channels equally, using them both to their best advantage.