YouTube Advertising VS Facebook Advertising

Youtube vs Facebook

These two heavyweight companies are the two major players in the video marketing world.

The equivalent of Muhammad Ali Vs Joe Frasier, just a lot more algorithm focused rather than punching the hell out of each other.

In 2016 we saw a massive shift of video advertising budgets move from Youtube (which had been the market leader in the video ads world) to Facebook.

And here are my thoughts as to why:

Facebook’s more advance targeting

When we first discovered Facebook video marketing we was blown away with how targeted you could actually make the campaign. I like to call it 'Sniper Marketing'. Imagine you are a high-end bridal shop in Hampsted. You have created a beautiful promotional video, that includes a testimonial from an over the moon client, explaining how you created them their dream wedding dress. Then you run a campaign targeting it to women, who are engaged, living within 6 miles of your shop, interested in anything and everything wedding related. Exciting hey?

We have produced some incredible results for our clients with Facebook video ads. From increasing traffic to their website, to increased enquiries and getting their message out to people they couldn’t get in front of before. No wonder companies are so excited to throw their money at Facebook!

Now you also have targeting on Youtube, however it is mostly based around the types of videos people are watching. This is a much broader approach, not quite as shotgun, but nowhere near as sniper targeted as Facebook. The shear depth of data Facebook captures over Youtube allows a much more niche audience to be reached.


I think Facebook made a brilliant decision to have muted videos appear in people’s timelines. This allows the user to opt in to watching if they think the video is of value to them. This means your video is going to have a totally different level of engagement compared to any other form of advertising. Think about it for a second, which other form of advertising do you actually consciously choose to consume?

Let's compare this to Youtube, where you have the three different types of delivery:

1)    In stream (Your video ad plays before, during, or after other videos. After five seconds, the viewer has the option to skip the ad.)

2)    Discovery (Your ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text, click on the ad and it takes you to the video)

3)    Bumper (Your bumper video ad is of six seconds duration or less and plays before, during or after another video. Viewers do not have the option to skip the ad.)

Instream if targeted properly can be very effective, as it still gives the user the option to engage with the content. The user has the option to skip after 6 seconds if the content is not of value to them. However frankly this has become a little annoying as users have become a little fed up of ads interrupting the content they actually have chosen to watch.  Instream is a form of advertising much closer to the traditional TV format, rather than Facebook’s forward thinking style of allowing the user to opt in and not disrupting what the user wants to do.

Discovery is Youtube’s attempt to allow the user to opt into an advertisement in a more traditional way. Catching someone’s attention via a banner and then pushing them to the content can be very effective if done correctly. This is my favourite out of Youtube’s advert format options as it is not forcing your message or content onto the user. On social platforms I believe it is highly important to allow the user to engage with your message out of choice.

Funnily enough, just last week Youtube announced they are removing the bumper ad format. This really backs up my belief that to delver the best experience for their users they must move away from the traditional forms of advertising. I think everybody agrees that unskippable ads on Youtube are very frustrating. Even in TV we are now used to skipping the ads as so many of us consume our content via catch up or download. This move in my opinion is in direct response to the competition that Facebook poses in the video marketing world.  


This is a subject I could carry on exploring for hours, however the truth is: There is no winner when it comes to which platform is the best to use, as it really depends on what your goal is.

What ever the frustration users have with Instream, there is no denying that it will get your message and brand out to a huge audience! Putting your ad in front of Justin Beibers latest video is going to get you a phenomenal amount of exposure. If its exposure you are after, then Youtube is the daddy in my opinion.

However if your goal is to really target your niche and you want them to engage with your content, then Facebook is definitely my winner.

I can see Youtube working on new formats that are more engagement focused in the next 12 months, as it will not want to be beaten in this fight. To rule them out would be crazy; lets not forget they are still the world’s second largest search engine.

So if you cannot decide on which platform to use for your message, and you want some experienced guidance, we would be more than happy to help.

Written by Cey