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Videos on Facebook: Native vs YouTube. Which Wins?

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Videos on Facebook: Native vs YouTube. Which Wins?

From 2014 to 2015, SEJ saw a clear increase in native video uploads on Facebook, versus YouTube video embeds, which had dominated Facebook until late 2014/early 2015.

However, over the last few months, we have heard numerous references eluding to the idea that Facebook was favoring native video uploads, versus third-party video embeds, such as YouTube.

Not too long ago, Facebook announced they would be limiting the reach of 3rd party images, which along with Facebook’s history of not exactly getting along with Google, made the concept a possibility and definitely something worth testing further.

At Search Engine Journal, we like to test these theories ourselves, especially since each page has a slightly different audience and not all ‘tactics’ apply equally.

So, we decided to partner with Kairay Media (my company) to conduct a more structured study, which compares the same video content, updated both as native video uploads and also as YouTube video embeds.


We really wanted to make sure we could compare both types of video updates, without any outside factors playing a role in the results, so we identified three separate Facebook pages, all with sizable followings, and identified seven videos that were ideal for each page (totaling 21 total videos and 42 total Facebook updates).

We set up a schedule to upload both versions of the video on the same day of the week, at the same time, on the same account, with one week separating the updates, so having seen the video recently would not affect the study results. Additionally, half the updates started with native video uploads first, with the other half starting with YouTube video embeds first, just in case seeing it a week later impacted

Additionally, half the updates started with native video uploads first, with the other half starting with YouTube video embeds first, just in case seeing it a week later did impact someone’s decision to like or engage with the update.

The study lasted for two weeks, after which we reviewed all the data.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:


Study Details

We utilized the following accounts:

The videos we selected were chosen to match the accounts they would be used on. For example, marketing related videos for Search Engine Journal and various interesting facts and trivia videos for the other two accounts.

For you that really love to see the numbers, you can view the engagement numbers here.



Facebook does seem to favor native video uploads versus third-party video embeds, at least when compared to YouTube. Of course whether they actually favor them or they just perform better is unknown, but either way, native video uploads on Facebook does seem to be the best approach right now.

In fact, our study indicated that on average, native videos reach 2.04 times more people, getting 2.38 times more likes, 2.67 times more shares, and 7.43 times more comments. 

Have You Noticed the Same?

Like any study, the more information you have, the better. So, have you noticed similar or contradicting results from uploading video directly to Facebook?

Please let us know in the comment below!


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Brent Csutoras

Consultant at Brent Csutoras

Managing Partner at Search Engine Journal and a Digital Marketing Consultant, providing consulting, training, and coaching services at an hourly ... [Read full bio]

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