Video ads are becoming more and more popular among companies who want to promote their brands. Arguably, social media channels, like Facebook or Twitter, are the best platforms for driving this promotion because they offer very personal interaction with the audience. So which platform works better: is it Facebook or Twitter that brings better results in terms of engagement, costs and targeting?
To really see the difference between those two social media giants, nothing is better than testing! We tested a 4-minute video promoted on Twitter and Facebook with the same budget and for the same time period. Here are the results:
When it comes to video engagement on the mentioned platforms, keep in mind the Facebook auto-play vs Twitter click to play features, average duration of video viewed and other factors influence the outcome. The video in our test achieved 15 times the higher engagement rate on Facebook than on Twitter! Engagement is calculated by the sum of actions (views, shares, likes, comments, etc.) divided by the audience reach.
The first reaction on hearing that result would be to say: “Hey, Facebook is the obvious winner!” However, the majority of the actions in that case were views, and the actual percentage of the audience who viewed at least half of the video or the complete video was significantly higher on Twitter (see the chart below).
One of the key factors behind this statistic is the Facebook auto-play feature, where any posted video begins to play automatically with no sound as it scrolls into view. In Twitter the user has to click to watch the video, whereas a Facebook user can just activate the video play in their news feed just by scrolling down the news feed (not a good engagement measurement). On top of this, Facebook counts any video playing for 3 seconds as an engagement.
Despite the fact that the average percentage of video viewed was quite low on Facebook, the other metrics - comments, shares and likes - had higher results compared to Twitter. This probably happened because of Facebook’s higher reach capacity and better targeting options.
Be aware: Twitter is also looking to ramp up the video rollout with auto play feature. They already started testing auto play videos on iPhone & iPad apps (in the US market only). Obviously, this feature will impact the average view rate. The question is by how much.
Brands only want to pay for the real engagement - actual video views, not automatic plays. Keep in mind that Facebook and Twitter have different approaches to the cost calculation: Facebook charges for the impressions and Twitter charges for the views. On Twitter, you only pay when user clicks on the video to play, which is quite fair. However, if we compare the cost per view (CPV), Facebook can charge as low as $0.04, when the lowest you can get on Twitter is $0.60 per view.
Both platforms offer a range of audience targeting options. You can choose one or a combination according to your business needs (see the table below). Facebook though is more sophisticated in both; segments and accuracy. For example, on Twitter you can only target your demographic by Gender, whereas on Facebook you can target based on age, gender, education, relationship, employment and more.
There is no winner or loser in that comparison, it all depends on your goals. If your goal is brand awareness, then you’ll be able to reach a broader audience with a lower budget via Facebook. However, if you want strong engagement and deep interest in your video, then go with Twitter.