Social News: YouTube vs. Facebook Watch

In February 2, 2018
Social Media


Over the years YouTube has cemented its place online as a video powerhouse and a hub of content that anyone can enjoy. However, over the past few years there has been scandal after scandal that has advertisers scared to trust the platform. YouTube has been trying to figure out how to balance the wants and needs of the Advertiser and the Content Creator which is often conflicting. Their most recent change in response to the Logan Paul scandal which effects channel monetization requirements has a lot of people wondering if they just shot themselves in the foot by making it harder for new content creators and smaller channels to make money.



While YouTube has been sitting on the reactive side recently, Facebook has been trying to swoop in and create the perfect video platform that YouTube claims to be. Back in December Facebook launched Facebook Watch. This comes as a tab on your desktop view, and even its own phone app. Facebook has created a hub for all the video content that has been uploaded on their network anyway. Looking at the Facebook tab, it’s clear that some of the design elements are meant to make frequent YouTube users comfortable to transition over to the new video platform.

But will Facebook Watch actually take over YouTube?

Let’s take a look at the platform demographics to figure this out.



YouTube has roughly 1 billion unique monthly users, with an almost 1:1 ratio between male and female. There are around 2 million video views per minute across all different types of genres. Users between 18-49 years old are reached more than any cable network in the US. Those stats alone are crazy, and no amount of controversy has seemed to affect those numbers. However, if advertisers continue to pull their ad budgets from YouTube, there will be no platform left for that audience.


Facebook is the most popular social network with around 1.9 billion unique monthly users. It’s a predominantly female audience, and the best way to reach Millennials and Gen Xers (with Gen Xers spending around 7 hours per week on the social network). Facebook’s audience continues to grow and reach older users, and the Facebook Ad platform is incredible and unlike any other type of digital advertising.


Both of these platforms have a huge user base and continue to grow independently from each other. So will the larger platform (Facebook) be able to take over the smaller? By looking at the basic numbers, maybe, but if you really look at the demographics I believe it won’t.


Younger Audience, Younger Content

YouTube is the most popular source of video entertainment for users under 34 years old, with a large amount of content meant to target users under 18. Toy unboxing videos, video blogs, gaming channels, fail compilations, and prank videos are among the most popular types of video genres on the platform and they all have a generally younger fan base. Facebook’s most active audience does not care much for those types of content and are far more likely to watch the content that is being shared to Facebook.


Which is better for an advertiser?

Both platforms allow for video advertisement, YouTube having a pre-roll ad as well as ads that run during some longer videos, and Facebook putting their ads in the middle of the video. Advertising on Facebook has the benefit of advertising to people, not cookies, so an advertiser can really narrow down the kind of person they want viewing their ad. This is an incredible advantage that Facebook has over other platforms and that’s why people have begun to ditch their other sources of online advertising for Facebook. With YouTube, you are much more limited in deciding who can actually see your ad. From an advertiser perspective it’s starting to seem more enticing to pull ads from YouTube and move them to Facebook Watch.


What about the content creators?

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, YouTube recently announced that they are raising the channel monetization requirements from 10,000 views to 4,000 watch minutes and 1,000 subscribers. This will be removing a lot of incentive for new channels and smaller channels to make any content on their platform. Facebook on the other hand is giving incentives to content creators to make videos. Facebook is trying to take the risk away from some content creators by offering to offset production costs, or in some cases license or buy content outright. On top of that, all revenue made on their video platform by content creators will be split almost 50/50 (55% going to the content creators and 45% going to Facebook).


All this being said I don’t believe in 5 years that one will have dominated the other. I believe they will start to run parallel to each other with each platform having their own niche audience. Facebook doesn’t have as large a demographic of the younger users, so YouTube will probably keep those users and the content directed towards them. Creators who have an older audience on YouTube will probably see a lot of success on Facebook Watch, and might completely migrate over there. Advertisers will be able to trust where their marketing dollars are being spent, because advertisers that have a younger audience will know to place their ads on YouTube and advertisers with an older audience can focus on Facebook.


Since Facebook Watch is new it will be exciting to see what happens and where this platform will go, and for now all we can do is speculate.


Check back in every other week for more Social News, and to learn more about our Social Media Management product give us a call at (800) 847-9760



Kaelin Richards

Social Media Research & Development



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