U.S. advertisers will spend $4.14 billion on digital video this year, according to eMarketer estimates. Yet while Twitter and Facebook are among the most popular ways to find and watch videos, they’ll only see a tiny sliver of those dollars since they don’t house the content. But recent developments suggest that the two social giants might one day want to take on the 800-pound streaming gorilla that is YouTube—and in doing so, grab a piece of the growing video ad pie.
“YouTube has become the de facto social [content management system] for content across all platforms. Other channels are distribution channels,” said Alex Jacobs, vp, director of social media at Digitas San Francisco. In a sample of more than 10,000 video brands posted to Facebook earlier this year, Socialbakers found that more than eight times as many were YouTube links as opposed to videos uploaded directly. Right now, Twitter and Facebook are mostly just pipes for YouTube videos—although that is changing.
Last year Twitter made it possible to watch videos within tweets. That led to partnerships with ESPN, Turner Broadcasting and The Weather Company to tweet game highlights or forecast clips featuring preroll ads from brands such as AT&T, Coke and Ford. “Content brands have the staying power [over distribution channels] because they have what consumers are seeking,” said Jonathan Adams, iCrossing’s svp of media, North America.