The Economist has decided to shift its video focus away from Facebook in favor of YouTube. This doesn't mean that they are going to pull their videos off of the platform, or stop uploading new content there, but rather, their focus will be towards YouTube.
This decision comes as the publisher has seen major growth on YouTube as opposed to Facebook, which in turn has led to renewal or completely new advertising deals.
The Economist is fairly new to video. They launched their video division, The Economist Films, in 2015 with a staff of around 20. Initially, they focused on Facebook with their content, and primarily made long-form videos. Initially, it was a venture that showed little return. Within the last 6 months though, that has all changed. Recently, they hired two new employees who's sole mission was to drive engagement on Facebook and YouTube and start adapting shorter videos. The effort paid off. On both platforms The Economist saw major improvement in subscribers and views. However, advertisers were unsure of the Facebook numbers, as most publishers and advertisers are. While Facebook is great for reaching new audiences and building brand awareness, most views on Facebook are incredibly short, and don't translate to real engagement. What Advertisers look for increasingly now, is a YouTube presence.
YouTube is a platform where people go to watch video, as opposed to Facebook where they go to do many different things. The view on YouTube is then more valuable because it leads to better engagement including comments, subscribes, and views of additional material. The team at the magazine found that YouTube was a better start of the subscriber funnel than Facebook was. So the views really did have more value. Moving forward, the Economist wants to focus more primarily on YouTube as it translates to real dollars.
What does this mean for you as a video producer?
Well, for one it shows that not all social media platforms are created equally, and that your views may be more valuable on certain ones. However, this doesn't mean that you should abandon Facebook all together. As said before Facebook is still best for finding new audiences and growing your viewership. However, you do want a YouTube channel, or even your own website, to be where the viewer goes next after looking at a video on Facebook. Additionally, there are some things the Economist is doing on YouTube that could help you. One thing they point to as a major success is the end card on their videos. This is where you can direct viewers to additional content, or to subscribe to your channel, at the end of a video. This is a great way to keep your viewers engaged as they'll always have something else to watch.
If you haven't paid a lot of attention to you YouTube channel in favor of Facebook, you may want to take another look at it. Get your stuff out on as many platforms as you can, but remember that not only are not all platforms created equal, but also they work best with different kinds of content.