5 lessons learned from Facebook video

Last night, I used YouTube’s remarkably elegant Capture app to stitch together a montage of 2-second videos that I took throughout the summer.

The app is incredibly simple. I uploaded each clip, trimmed them down if necessary, dragged and dropped them to my desired order, and even added a soundtrack from their free library of songs. I love using it.

Then I uploaded the video to YouTube and tweeted out the link.

It did not exactly go viral.

The grand total as I’m writing this?


Over on Facebook, it’s a very different story.

There the SAME video has 2,000 views, 130+ likes and 25+ comments.

This isn’t an isolated example. This Facebook video from the Marquette Facebook page, for instance, has 50x more views than its YouTube counterpart.

I think the Capture app is an attempt to get people to post more “everyday” type video on YouTube that they might normally share to Facebook, Vine, Snapchat or Instagram. But for me, it just helped make a video that demonstrated Facebook’s growing dominance.

Here are some lessons we can learn from the numbers in this case study.

1. Twitter sucks at driving traffic

I have nearly 7,000 followers on Twitter. Only five people clicked on the YouTube link I tweeted out. That doesn’t mean Twitter is useless. It still owns real-time marketing and the “second-screen” conversation around sports, news and award shows like no other platform. But as Twitter has grown more crowded and noisier, its ability to stop people and get them to click on a link has all but disappeared. But don’t just take my word for it.

2. Facebook is becoming a destination in itself

Related to the last point, Facebook has been the main driver of referral traffic to other sites in all the analytics I’ve seen in the last few years. I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg’s team looked at the same numbers and thought, “Why are we sending people elsewhere when we could keep them on our site?” And voilá, Facebook video was born.

3. People don’t WANT to click

This may sound like an evil Facebook plot, but it does benefit the user to host content on the platform where you spend your most time. It’s like hanging out at a mall rather than making 10 trips around town to buy 10 different items. Clicking on a link is hard. You have to first make the decision to click, then wait for a new window or tab to open, then wait for it to load, then go back to the original site… This all takes even longer if you’re on your phone and have to rely on a slow 3G connection. This is no way to live!

4. Facebook algorithm can be your friend

As mentioned in my last newsletter, Facebook’s algorithm can bury poor content and keep it out of newsfeeds. But it can also extend the life of a post that is doing well. If people are commenting and engaging, it’s going to keep showing up in more newsfeeds. That’s another advantage Facebook has over Twitter and YouTube to create more visibility for its best content.

5. It’s nice to get nice comments from friends and fans

This last point is less about quantitative measurement and more about quality. Let me just say this bluntly: YouTube comments are the WORST. Some might call them a cesspool. Every time I report some horrible, barely literate comment awaiting moderation on YouTube I lose a little faith in humanity. Facebook isn’t always the most civil place, but you’re more likely to get a positive comment from a friend or a fan than some anonymous YouTube troll. And this time, reading the comments made my day.

Thanks for reading! If you made it this far, I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a note and tell me what you’re doing for Labor Day. Here’s what I’m doing.

Educator. Podcast addict. Wrote a book about creativity: http://bit.ly/thecreativejourney

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store