[Editor’s Note: Why do some videos rack up millions of views while others linger in obscurity? How does a particular clip become a cultural phenomenon while others remain perennially unseen? What is it that makes a video go viral? Tubefilter has partnered with Jukin Media to take an analytical dive into online video ephemera to try to come up with some answers. Join us for our new regular series Anatomy Of A Viral Video as we explore today’s biggest viral hits and how all those views add up. And for more Anatomy Of A Viral Video installments click right here.]
Rightfully or not, pit bulls have gained a reputation for being vicious, dangerous animals that pose a serious threat to people. A recent video that’s gone hugely viral, however, would seem to debunk that notion.
Posted below, the clip was captured by Nina Wahl of Joshua, Texas. Featured in the video is four year-old Taysley Rose, Wahl’s niece, calmly and assertively ordering around a pack of six fully-grown pit bulls (Julie, Abel, Cain, Seth, Pharaoh, and Samson) before feeding time.
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While the video itself is outstanding –Taysley Rose is adorable in the way she makes absolutely clear to the dogs that she will not tolerate any misbehavior – it’s what the video means for the dynamic online video landscape that’s truly noteworthy. Just as the video breaks a misconception about pit bulls, it simultaneously debunks the traditional thinking about online video over the past 10 years; specifically, the idea that YouTube has a monopoly on viral videos.
Facebook Native Video
Unlike the great majority of user-generated viral videos, “Little Girl Controls Pit Bulls” was originally posted to Facebook, and its view count there dwarfs the number of views the subsequent YouTube version of the video received.
As of this writing, the video has more than 30,000,000 views on Facebook, compared to nearly seven million on YouTube. The graphic below illustrates the different paths to virality on the different platforms.
Facebook now publicly calls itself a video platform and its algorithm heavily favors native video uploaded directly to the platform. In other words a video uploaded to Facebook is much more likely to land in a user’s newsfeed than a post that shares a link to a YouTube video or a video from another platform. Throw in the fact that Facebook-native videos now play automatically in users’ newsfeeds, and it’s easy to see why Facebook videos get so many views so quickly.
It’s also worth noting there’s a stark difference between Facebook video views and YouTube views. Nearly all Facebook views come solely from the Facebook platform, whereas a significant percentage of YouTube views come from thousands of websites that embed the YouTube player. Just imagine how many views a video like “Little Girl Controls Pit Bulls” would get if/when Facebook decides to make its video player more easily embeddable on other websites.
Is Facebook A Better Option For User-Generated Content?
YouTube isn’t going anywhere and over enough time its video views for “Little Girl Controls Pit Bulls” may even surpass the view count of the video on Facebook, but uploads like Nina Wahl’s make it crystal clear that Facebook is well on its way to being a significant competitor in the online video industry. In fact, we may see Facebook become the dominant platform for candid caught-on-tape moments and other kinds of user-generated content.
While YouTube is great for closely following video creators and entertainers who post intentionally entertaining content on a regular schedule, Facebook may actually be better positioned than YouTube as a platform for user-generated videos.
Most of the time, the folks who post viral, funny videos of pets and children, dashcam footage, and other kinds of UGC on the web are often simply trying to share those extraordinary moments with their friends and family (like Wahl). Now that Facebook is proving itself to be an easy-to-use and reliable video platform, and their friends and family are already on Facebook, users may find that Facebook is actually a faster, easier way to get their videos in front of friends and family than YouTube. After all, the Facebook algorithm will put your uploaded video right in front of your friends’ faces via the newsfeed, and then play it without even making them click.
Hurdles Facebook Still Faces
Although Facebook clearly has a massive audience and a demonstrated ability to make videos go wildly viral through sharing, there are still a few rather large hurdles that lie ahead if Facebook video wants to truly compete with YouTube.
Search – Users cannot easily search for videos on Facebook at the moment. So, unless a video comes through the newsfeed, there is no good way to discover videos on the platform.
Monetization – This is simple. YouTube shares advertising revenue with people who upload videos and Facebook doesn’t. Anyone determined to earn cash from their uploads will likely opt for YouTube.
Rights Management – Copyright infringement is a real issue on Facebook. Videos are pirated in droves and – unlike YouTube – the platform doesn’t yet have an effective solution to deal with the massive issue. Creators are never pleased to see their work ripped off.
YouTube is still the dominant force in online video, and its an uphill battle for any platform to try to compete. However, Facebook is the only platform in the world with a user-base that compares to YouTube, and it’s taking steps to leverage that position. How the company navigates the challenges that lie ahead will go a long way toward determining whether or not videos like “Girl Controls Pit Bulls” and its massive success on Facebook become the rule rather than the exception in online video.
Mike Skogmo is Senior Director of Communications at Jukin Media, the worldwide leader in user-generated and viral video content. Jukin Media’s rapidly expanding clip library receives more than 800 million monthly views on YouTube and its content is licensed for use by the world’s largest broadcasters, publishers, and brands on a daily basis. Learn more at JukinMedia.com.