Well, not that Facebook is surrendering in all key measures, yet it is steadily lagging behind in one aspect: videos. Mark Zuckerberg and his team are working on improving users’ experience on Facebook ceaselessly, and short videos appeared on the FB menu long ago. From embedding to direct uploading, video processing is getting better every other day. It may suggest that with its worldwide audience and advertising potential Facebook can successfully challenge YouTube and draw away its users by offering the combination of video hosting and wide networking opportunities.
However, that’s not the case. According to evaluation of use of bandwidth by various video hosting/broadcasting services, Facebook is steadily losing the game to YouTube. In its share of Internet activity taking place in the USA YouTube jumped from last year’s 14% to this year’s 17.9%. By the same index, Facebook lost 0.5% falling from 3% recorded last year to 2.5% today.
Facebook is biting the dust not only in contest with YouTube. Netfix, Amazon and Hulu are all leading the race in retaining viewers and getting the most of the bandwidth for streaming videos. Netfix takes the share of 35-36%, YouTube is second with its 17.5%, Amazon and Hulu are just slightly above Facebook with their current average of 3%. Yet these indices are very relative, as streaming giants are consuming more bandwidth as they provide high-quality long videos that take more resources than short videos posted on FB. Besides, measurements were taken in the evenings when Facebook activity is usually slowing down.
In this aspect YouTube is a more valid benchmark as its users are also more active during daytime.
However, as figures show, Facebook audience is devoting a good deal of attention to videos in the network, as 500 million FB users watch eight billion videos every day. So probably FB promotional capacity coupled with new option of 360-degree clips and possible introduction of live streams in personal accounts will lead Facebook to the top? Well, most probably not.
Millions of views come from the fact that the network plays videos automatically as a user scrolls through the newsfeed and after three seconds of playing a video is counted as ‘viewed’. So large numbers are not supported by significant increase in bandwidth engagement and the viewing potential of Facebook is still to be developed.
However, as experts explain, Facebook does not obligatory aim at beating YouTube in numbers of video views. Most probably Facebook simply aims to monetize the new opportunity and to use more space and options for advertizing generously provided by video hosting. Facebook is an important virtual social hub, and it cannot rival with a dedicated video platform on the latter’s field.
Facebook has not yet provided its own comments on the matter.
The provided statistics cover only two corresponding months of two years, so it is not the final prognosis. Yet Facebook will have to work hard to come anywhere to YouTube’s video success. At the same time Google quietly launches its own video service and purchases rights to stream TV products, so Netfix might start worrying as well.