We see you out there, committed to using social video to tell your story. You know the benefits, you know how to create original videos, and you want to capitalize on it. But now you’re faced with a tough question: which social platform is best for your video content? Let’s take a look at the big players and see if we can find an answer.
YouTube still remains the number one video-sharing site. It’s an easy, familiar place to host and distribute all your content in one place, the video quality is superb, and being built on Google’s network means that it always works.
YouTube is also the number two search engine after Google proper, so your videos are extremely discoverable by people interested in your topic. This makes it great for evergreen content. By comparison, searching for video content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is more or less impossible outside of hashtags.
Sitting pretty with 8 billion daily video views and an absolutely massive audience primed to push things viral (think “Ice Bucket Challenge”), Facebook is the new catch-all.
But what does a “view” on Facebook mean? Facebook counts a view after only 3 seconds (YouTube requires 30), and some early data suggests that viewer retention on Facebook by the time you hit that 30 second mark. On Facebook, a “view” may not mean someone got to the heart of your message, especially if your video is long. So aim to keep things short, and frontload the most engaging content to draw people in.
Also, note that native uploads are heavily favored in their algorithms, so while sharing your YouTube video may be easier, it won’t perform as well. It’s a crowded platform, with a lot of other brands vying for attention, so while hashtags can theoretically help you reach a new audience, your best bet are targeted, sponsored posts.
If your focus is on real-time content or breaking news, Twitter is the place for you. A heavily mobile user base means you should be focused short videos friendly to small screens. Most importantly,
Twitter is all about the NOW so if your content is focused on the immediate conversation – or can be smartly spun to engage it – it will perform better.
Native video content does better here, too, with more responses, retweets, and likes. As with anything on Twitter, don’t forget your hashtags so you can be a part of ongoing conversations!
A bit of a tough cookie for some brands, Instagram presents unique challenges as an almost exclusively-mobile platform with a 15-second cap. That brief length means you can only hit your viewers with a single point before you’re out of time. While that may be a challenge, it can also work to your benefit, as a focused clip can be more engaging and widely viewed than a lengthier multi-purpose video.
For example, let’s say you have a new product or version to showcase — a series of Instagram videos each showing off a different facet can be released over a week, instead of one long introductory video. That keeps the announcement of your new product or update in the social feeds without annoying repeats.
The brevity also makes Instagram a great place for quick gags and light-hearted content, to make your brand friendlier and more approachable.
Pro-tip: while Instagram now supports different aspect ratios, previews on your profile remain square, and content that is true to this format utilizes more screen real estate, which is good for you..
In the end, the best place for your content is really a matter of who you want to reach and how. Playing the breaking news game? Try Twitter first. Have a particularly sexy product you want to show off? Instagram is a great outlet for this. Producing an ongoing series of lengthy videos? Build your audience around a YouTube channel.
The most important thing to do is figure out where your audience spends their time and bring the content to them!
Have 2 minutes to spare? Read our post “5 ways to make your social video stand out on Facebook” to learn how to make the most of your video content