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Video Wars: Facebook Versus YouTube

YouTube has long dominated the market for watching and sharing user-generated videos. Every month it generates tens of millions more unique viewers than its closest competitors and billions more content views. But Facebook has set its sights on the lucrative video market and is making a dent in YouTube’s share of the pie.

Facebook announced in its 2014 Fourth Quarter Report that it averaged 3 billion video views per day – up from 1 billion in just the previous quarter – and over half of daily Facebook users in the United States now watch at least one video per day on the social media site.

Me at the Zoo, the first video uploaded to video over a decade ago.
Me at the Zoo, the first video uploaded to video over a decade ago.

Studies have shown that this increase in growth is coming at the expense of YouTube. While YouTube still has more video views per day, surpassing 4 billion views back in 2012, Facebook is fast on its heels. One study showed that in the United States last year, YouTube’s unique video viewers were on the decline, whereas Facebook’s general trend was an upward trajectory. And Facebook’s recent announcement that users can now embed Facebook-hosted videos elsewhere on the web – which up until now has been exclusively within the province of YouTube – threatens to cut deeper into YouTube’s market share.

Although Facebook accounts for views differently (a streaming embedded video only needs to play automatically for 3 seconds to count as a view on Facebook, whereas a would-be viewer must actually click on the video in YouTube) Facebook is also catching up to YouTube where it really matters: in ad revenue. Facebook recently acquired LiveRail, a leading online video advertising platform, to help with better targeting its video ads. And a recently-released study found that in November 2014, more brands

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