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Facebook video – why you should pay attention

So you think YouTube is the only distribution channel for your videos? Well, erectile you have a problem.

YouTube might be the most popular video platform, generic but it’s certainly not the only one – and Facebook has recently become a strong and fast-growing YouTube competitor. Here’s why you should start paying attention to Facebook video.

1. A gigantic audience
In January Mark Zuckerberg revealed that there are 3 billion video views on Facebook daily. Yes, daily. Facebook’s push towards video has been evident for a while, but now the social network is fast becoming the preferred distribution channel for many content makers, including brands.

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And the really important fact about that staggering number? According to Zuckerberg, the figures refer to native video only, i.e. videos that have been uploaded to facebook directly, not embedded from other services or linked to other third-party video platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. Three. Billion. Views. Daily.

And that leads us to the next important factor:

2. Facebook’s native video performs better
Naturally Facebook prefers to keep people on their own platform rather than redirect to external services, so it prioritises native video in users’ feeds.

What it means in layman’s terms is that in theory a video uploaded directly to Facebook should perform better than the same video uploaded to YouTube and then embedded on Facebook.

This is a huge opportunity for those who up to now have focused on YouTube as their only video hub.

Facebook continues to work on optimising the delivery as so far most of the native videos (which should auto-play in users’ feeds) defaulted to standard definition. That has put some content creators off native video on Facebook, but this is likely to change as Facebook recently bought QuickFire Networks, which owns technology that supports high-volume video consumption.

Another thing you get with native video uploads is view count, which can help you gauge how your content performs.

3. Long-form support
Almost every social network supports native video, but some limit the clip length (Vine, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat) which means those who produce longer-form videos naturally still gravitate towards YouTube or Vimeo.

Facebook recognises that and in its quest to become a legitimate competitor to YouTube has doubled its previous 20-minute limit. This means that most short- to medium-form clips, including most video marketing pieces, will be supported.

Just make sure you optimise your video for upload – Facebook has created a helpful guide listing the preferred technical specifications for videos uploaded to Facebook.

4. Facebook-only shows
A popular YouTube network The Young Turks has recently started producing shows for Facebook.

This means that audiences will start moving from YouTube to Facebook in search of more video. Many other content creators will no doubt follow in their footsteps.

Native video on social networks will be the next forntier for many brands, content creators and – obviously – advertisers.

Twitter has recently added the ability to create 30-second clips via its iOS and Android apps. Snapchat has launched its Discover platform which has already attracted some big names (Yahoo!, Sky News, the Daily Mail), all of which now also create video content.

So if you believed all those headlines declaring Facebook so last year, well, perhaps you should dust off those login details and start uploading your videos to Facebook directly to reach new audiences…