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Facebook vs. YouTube: which is better for your 360 videos?

Facebook vs. YouTube for 360 videos
Facebook vs. YouTube for 360 videos

To my knowledge, the two most popular platforms for sharing 360 videos are YouTube and Facebook.  Which of these two provides better image quality for your 360 videos?

To test, I examined a video uploaded by Svend Even Hærra for NRK shot on the Garmin Virb 360, which he posted to both Facebook and YouTube.

Here is the Facebook version:

Here is the YouTube version:

Here is a pair of screenshots:

Virb 360 sample 360 video on Facebook

Here is the same scene on the YouTube video:

The YouTube video has a wider view, which makes the video appear sharper (because a wider view shows more pixels within the same space).  However, leaving aside the field of view, the YouTube video seems noticeably more detailed.  For example, if you look at Jonas’ hair, you can see the YouTube version is more detailed:

Facebook (left) vs YouTube (right)
Facebook (left) vs YouTube (right)

OTHER FACTORS

On the other hand, there is also a huge difference in the number of views:  On Facebook, the video had 41,935 views, while the YouTube version had 633 views at this time.  In my own videos, I’ve also noticed that a video posted natively on Facebook gets significantly more views than the same video posted on YouTube.  Admittedly, in my case, it’s not really a fair comparison because the 360 Rumors Facebook page is older and has more likes and follows than the relatively new 360 Rumors YouTube channel.

Another factor to consider is that Facebook has more sophisticated video editing controls.  You can use the Guide feature to change the orientation at various points in the video, and you can specify the initial field of view of the video (choosing between a “zoomed in” or “zoomed out” view).

Then again, YouTube has more widely accessible headset viewing options.  On Facebook, the only way to use a headset is to use a Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift.  By contrast, YouTube videos can be viewed on Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, Playstation VR, Oculus Rift (through an app such as Virtual Desktop), or HTC Vive (also through an app).  This is particularly important for 3D 360 videos, which can only be viewed in 3D with a headset.

In the end, it’s a false dilemma since it’s usually a good idea to post a video to both Facebook and YouTube, but it’s nonetheless useful to know that YouTube seems to have higher video quality (for now).

How about you?  Do you have a preference for one or the other?  Let me know in the comments!

About the author

Mic Ty

16 Comments

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    • Sorry i don’t understand your question. Can you rephrase it? Do you mean whether videos can be uploaded to youtube without quality loss? If that’s your question, the answer is no. When you upload to youtube there will be quality loss compared to the original. But it seems the quality is higher than facebook.

      • Kay means that you can upload a video to Youtube, for the quality and then have a link in Facebook to share the video, for the large audience.
        He asks if the quality would suffer. Personally I don’t think so because it’s still a native Youtube video that you’re watching on Facebook.

        • Oh ok thank you very much for the clarification, Marc. Yes Kay you can upload to youtube then share the link to Facebook. If you do that, there is no difference in quality. But if you share a video on Facebook using a YouTube link instead of by uploading to Facebook, there are fewer people who view it. I don’t know why this happens…

          Best regards,
          Mic

  • Hi Mic,
    Is there any way to limit view angle in Youtube 360 video?
    I’m looking for “crop 360 video” as you can do in Panotour. I know it would not be 360 anymore but I want to discard nadir.
    Maybe editing metadata?

    • Vimeo is solid and is very very friendly to creators (well, the ones that go pro especially). They are fairly new to 360 so not quite in the “most popular” status. However, they are absolutely worth considering. If you want random folks to find you, FB and YT are still better as they get the most traffic and hits. That doesn’t mean they are better, just more popular and more visible.

  • Youtube allows much higher resolution uploads than Facebook – of course, you have to have hefty bandwidth to view in the 8K but if you can it’s a LOT better. Likewise, Youtube allows the 3D while Facebook does not. Oh, you CAN view 3D on desktop, it just requires a particular system but the headset option is absolutely better in that respect for Youtube. Youtube is also opening up the VR180 format which FB likely won’t support right away, if at all. Facebook is awesome but it’s limited when compared to Youtube . . . at least for now.

  • Hi everybody,

    Just don’t forget an important thing: FB has a huge amount of false views since the majority of users don’t know how to disable the autoplay parameter.

    So I prefer to have real stats on YT, instead of many more on FB from users that are just srolling their page and started my videos without seeing them…

    Of course, you can publish your videos on both at the same time. 🙂