What makes a top brand video on Facebook, YouTube

Brands are taking Facebook video as seriously as YouTube. But what performs well on each platform differs, according to new data from digital video analytics company Tubular.

For a second week running, Air France’s “France is in the air” video soared on YouTube, racking up more than 17.8 million views on the platform from March 14 to March 20. That makes the playful, 45-second spot the current top brand video on YouTube. On Facebook, meanwhile, a clip from Marvel’s upcoming “Avengers: Age of Ultron” film topped the charts, attracting 9.4 million views between its Thursday upload date and the end of Friday.

“There was obviously significant spend behind [the Air France video], because you see there was only a tiny amount of [likes, comments and shares],” said Allison Stern, vp of enterprise at Tubular Labs. More paid promotion leads to a lower engagement rate, she said.

The top three YouTube brand videos last week — videos from Air France, Durex and Samsung — remained on the podium this week, thanks not only to continued marketing spend from those brands, but also the platform’s lengthier content shelf life. “On the YouTube side, you get repeat winners,” said Stern. “You see longevity in the videos.”

Several Facebook ad campaigns attracted significant attention this past week. The second- and eighth-most watched videos on Facebook were actually ads for Facebook. By advertising friendship, “Facebook has finally done something that makes sense,” said the often-critical Copyranter.

Generally, Facebook videos tend to attract far more engagement — likes, comments and shares — than their counterparts on YouTube. Not only are those social features placed front and center on Facebook, but the platform’s logged-in user base is conditioned to interact with content there, while YouTube video-viewing is often a more passive experience.

Despite the potential of Facebook video for brands, YouTube has more top-brand videos than Facebook. Of the top 100 videos on YouTube in January, 30 percent came from publishers and 17 percent came from brands, noted Stern. On Facebook, 25 percent came from publishers, and just 1 percent came from brands.

One key thing to note about the chart below: Facebook and YouTube don’t tabulate views exactly the same way. Facebook counts both organic and paid video views as at least three seconds of video viewership. YouTube is a bit more coy about how it tabulates organic views, using various signals to qualify intent, but for paid views, the platform requires at least 30 seconds of viewership to tabulate a view. That means most of those Air France video viewers stuck around for the bulk of the ad.