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Most social media marketers know that video is on the rise. Whether through explicit research data, or a vague sense gleaned from scrolling one’s own News Feed, it’s no secret that video is having a bit of a moment.

While the ballooning importance of video is not exclusive to Facebook, the social network is certainly a major contributor to it. In January 2015, Facebook reported 3 billion video views per day on the platform.

Which is why if your current video strategy focuses exclusively on YouTube, it might be time to regroup. This topic was even addressed in the keynote speech at this year’s Social Media Marketing World, where Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner told the audience,

“It’s pretty clear that Facebook is directly going after YouTube.”

Let’s take a moment to define what we mean by “Facebook native video” here. This refers to videos that are created within or uploaded directly to Facebook, and auto-play within the News Feed.

So, how does Facebook native video challenge YouTube? Well, a series of updates and data points have rolled out in recent months that have caused marketers to take new notice of Facebook’s native video offering. Each means something different for the future of YouTube—and for your social media marketing strategy.

1. Facebook’s algorithm favors native video.
Think sharing your YouTube videos on Facebook is the same as uploading them directly to the social network? Think again. A recent article on AdAge revealed the following:

“Facebook’s content-recommendation algorithm gives preference to its own video player when determining what content to show in people’s news feeds…”

With all the challenges to Facebook organic reach that small business marketers have faced in recent years, this is incredibly important to note. While it might seem cumbersome to upload your videos separately on each platform, it’s key to getting the most engagement and exposure to do so. Also, Facebook offers robust analytics for native videos that can help you refine your strategy and learn about your audience.

2. The majority of Facebook video views happen on mobile.
Facebook’s Q4 earnings call in January revealed some surprising statistics about Facebook video that marketers should be planning around. After Mark Zuckerberg shared that Facebook now gets more than 3 billion video views daily, Sheryl Sandberg noted:

“Today, over 50 percent of people in the U.S. who come to Facebook daily watch at least one video per day, and globally, over 65 percent of Facebook video views occur on mobile.” (AdWeek)

This important to note for two reasons: first, it’s a clear sign that social media is leading the charge toward mobile, and you had better create a strategy to address it. Second, if you are trying to market your products and services specifically to an audience that uses mobile devices, you’d be well-advised to funnel your organic efforts and promotional budget toward Facebook video.

3. Facebook videos can now be embedded just like YouTube videos.
In March, Facebook announced a much-anticipated update to native video that allows users to embed videos posted by pages into blog posts and websites just like they can with YouTube videos. This is a major blow to YouTube’s preeminence in the video world, and makes it even clearer that Facebook is looking to take over as your go-to video provider. Here’s an example from Facebook’s own page:

2014 Year in ReviewAt the end of each year, we reflect. We remember challenges and triumphs. We celebrate the moments that connect us. Take a look back on 2014.

Posted by Facebook on Monday, December 22, 2014

Social media marketers should take advantage of this not only because it saves time, but also because it will contribute to your original video’s views and comments, thus indicating to Facebook’s algorithm that the content is engaging and should be given better organic reach.

Video on social media is evolving quickly, and what the future holds is hard to say right now. Whatever happens, it’s safe to say that video on social platforms is here to stay—and not just on Facebook. Twitter also introduced a native video feature this year. With that in mind, now is the time to think about how you will take advantage of this platform, before your competitors do!

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Content Marketing Manager at Webs, where she also manages marketing for Pagemodo – a suite of social media tools. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.

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