Facebook Vies With YouTube for Digital Influencer Content

YouTube is where 1.5 billion people go every month to watch videos for more than an hour a day, and influencers such as brothers Jake Paul and Logan Paul have millions of followers and draw in lots of digital ads. Facebook makes it easier for videos to go viral, but hasn’t had much success in getting viewers to watch videos for more than a few minutes. In an effort to do so, Facebook has turned to live sports, making its own programs and a handful of stars who crave Facebook’s enormous reach more than YouTube’s monetization.

The New York Times reports that, although “most online video creators are not exclusive to any platform … the biggest stars publish most consistently on YouTube because its ad revenue-sharing typically provides the biggest payouts.” At VidCon, Facebook courted digital influencers with “its fledgling video ad programs” and a new app with “tools to help creators make videos look more professional.”

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For Logan Paul, who posts minute-long Facebook videos in addition to his wildly popular YouTube channel, Facebook is about building brand rather than making money. He notes that he has to minimize dialogue since Facebook’s audience is global. The social media platform paid “as much as $220,000” for top YouTube stars including Paul to produce exclusive Facebook Live content, but, says NYT, “the deals did little to entice YouTube stars to post more frequently on Facebook.”

This year, Facebook “started testing the new advertising program” so that some creators could place 15-second ads in videos; “creators in the program said advertising revenue from Facebook was comparable to YouTube, although many cautioned it was still early.” Facebook and YouTube are both “pushing to help creators land so-called influencer marketing deals” by connecting influencers with brands or products.

NYT notes that this feature is among others that both companies are creating “that make them more alike.” For example, YouTube just debuted a “mobile feature to directly share videos with friends and maintain group messaging threads” and also “started a pilot program to allow major stars to post non-video content to their pages,” and Facebook “added a dedicated video tab — a mini-YouTube within its mobile app — so people interested only in watching videos on Facebook have a place to go.”