How do you get the most YouTube views possible on Facebook? And what are YouTube’s own tips on the subject?
Tip #1: The Fundamentals of YouTube Sharing on Facebook
To share a YouTube video on Facebook, people usually just copy and paste the URL from YouTube to Facebook or they click the “share on Facebook icon” within YouTube or another social sharing option on another web page. Some people may also have tried uploading images in Facebook and adding a link to the YouTube video in the Facebook image description.
Jeremy has done some research on Facebook sharing of YouTube and found that out the top YouTube viral videos from 2013, almost all had a very significant percentage of the audience that viewed the video on Facebook. There’s been a correlation over the years between sharing and liking on Facebook and “viral videos.” But that effect is a little less in 2014 going in to 2015.
A recent SocialBakers study says that Facebook-native video is overtaking YouTube video on the Facebook platform. But Jeremy remains unconvinced as the research doesn’t seem too extensive. Tim Schmoyer goes further to say he feels SocialBakers studies are generally too skewed towards Facebook and doesn’t feel the numbers add up. Facebook video is not the same as YouTube video, so it’s like comparing apples to oranges with reach and views.
Tip #2: Get the Most YouTube Video Views on Facebook
Dane Golden says that YouTube product manager Andy Stack recently wrote a very popular post, ironically, on Facebook, called “How to successfully promote YouTube videos in the Facebook feed (Pro Tip)”. A month ago Andy ran an experiment in which he posted a link to a new YouTube video in Facebook, and a regular post, instead mentioning the video in the comments.
Results: He got about 4X as many comments saying “I saw it” in the post without a YouTube link than in the post with the link. Andy says this confirms what he says is generally known, that:
- Facebook give prominence to posts with videos uploaded directly to Facebook.
- After Facebook-native video, Facebook gives secondary importance to posts with images uploaded directly to Facebook.
- After native images, Facebook prioritizes text-only posts.
- At the lowest priority, Facebook prioritizes posts with a YouTube link.
Andy writes that “Your YouTube video link is initially getting suppressed in your audience’s feeds.” So what should you do if you want to share a YouTube video, and make money from the ads that run on it, and not have it suppressed initially? Here are Andy Stack’s recommended steps for posting a YouTube video to Facebook:
Tips for Posting a YouTube Video to Facebook
- Take a large-sized image snapshot/screengrab of the video that is catchy or matches the video’s thumbnail. Or with a little more effort you can make a short video teaser snippet of your full-length video.
- The first thing you do to a new Facebook post is upload that image. Or upload the video teaser for better results.
- Take the YouTube URL for the video and “disguise” it through a URL shortener, like bitly.com. Bonus points for using Bitly for a short URL of a playlist that starts with that video, because you’ll increase watch time on your YouTube channel because your next video in the playlist will automatically start after the first one ends.
- Write the text in your Facebook post and paste in the shortened URL for the video or playlist. You have to upload the photo first so it registers as a photo. You can’t post the link first because Facebook will recognize it as a YouTube video, even though you’ve posted it as Bitly link.
- Post it.
The More Facebook Users Watch a Video, The More Popular it Becomes
Facebook increases the viewability of your video post as interaction increases. So the more interaction that occurs with the post, the more exposure it will get in the feeds of Facebook users. But not all social actions on Facebook carry the most weight in getting it promoted. “Shares” have the biggest value in this formula, so after posting, be sure to share the video with a someone. Comments have the second highest value and likes have the third highest value.
The Bitly URL shortener trick is aimed at helping YouTubers get more ad views because instead of showing the video on Facebook, it takes the user to see it on YouTube.com, where more ads appear, including display ads.
Interesting side note: Andy notes that on the YouTube watch page, display ads are often the No. 1 or No. 2 ad format for driving revenue for creators, despite their low-CPM rate. Additionally, fewer In-Stream ads will appear when a video is played within the Facebook timeline. Jeremy agrees with these tips and says “This is the world I live in. It’s pretty tedious but this is almost every single thing I do.” He also will often add a few bucks of Facebook promotion to grease the wheels and get the post going.
Tip#3: Getting the Most out of YouTube Videos on Facebook
Tim Schmoyer agrees with Andy Stack’s recommendations in some ways but has some variations on the method that he has tested. He agrees that unless you’re going to upload the video to Facebook, the second best option is to upload the photo. But he doesn’t think you have to shorten it, because it’s unlikely that Facebook buries YouTube.com URLs vs. Bitly links. Regardless, the image still works the best in sending people to the watch page.
What Andy didn’t mention was that Facebook made a change to EdgeRank a few weeks ago where so many people were doing these “click link photos” that Facebook has now said that posts with photos with links in the description will now be suppressed. This means that they will make it show up less in people’s Facebook feeds than images without a link. Even with the change, Tim says it’s still the best method for sharing videos on Facebook.
Tim says you can also upload a teaser video like Andy said, and use a call-to-action at the end of the Facebook video where people can click to watch more, which works on desktop or mobile. Tim has tried taking the first 20-30 seconds of his videos, upload directly to Facebook, and end with a cliffhanger so people will click. But the click-through rate is very low.
So far, the numbers are not promising. Facebook videos have views, auto-plays, and user-initiated playbacks. Tim finds that user-initiated playbacks for Facebook video is around one percent. In one example, a Facebook video has reached 836 people and the post details show that were just 4 clicks to play the video, a much lower view rate than on YouTube.
Jeremy says that people do a lot of liking on Facebook, but the engagement, getting people to take action, is low in general, regardless of the content type. Tim says that he gets more likes on a Facebook video post than views – people may passively like things but not actually watch. Lastly, both Tim and Jeremy strongly recommend using Facebook’s tagging function with images as it will show up to their friends and followers.