The Dirty Little Secret Behind Facebook Video Views

Facebook has been improving their video players over the last few quarters, and their new stats are nothing short of breathtaking. 8 billion views a day on Facebook? That’s an insane amount, and with Facebook improving their ad platform and audience targeting capabilities, it soon may make more sense to target videos on Facebook rather than YouTube. But before you decide to give all of your paid social media budget to Facebook, check out this informative video from German based design studio, Kurzgesagt. This video provides a look behind the Facebook analytics curtain.

First, the 8 billion views a day was definitely just a glossy number for investors, but the fact that they describe a view as only being seen for 3 seconds and without sound is quite preposterous. Since the desktop newsfeed automatically plays when the video is in view it definitely skews the total number of video views. YouTube in comparison describes a view as 30 seconds or 75% of total video length, whichever comes first. This definitely skews in favor of Facebook as 3 seconds is considerably shorter, and honestly 3 seconds is not enough to say (or show) much more than a client’s name.

The second important point that the video makes is the retention rate at that 30 second mark. YouTube has a retention rate of 86% while Facebook only has a retention rate of 21%. This is due to the fact that users are scrolling through their newsfeed and desktop has autoplay, while YouTube offers the skip feature for TrueView pre-play videos after 5 seconds. Thus if the user does not click to skip they have for the most part decided to truly invest and watch or listen to the video.

The video then goes into the stealing of intellectual property between YouTube and Facebook, and how Facebook is monetizing that. This will definitely be interesting moving forward to monitor how Facebook will respond to videos containing stolen intellectual property. With no way to monetize videos on the Facebook platform like you can on YouTube through opening up advertising before your video plays, we see a lot of views being stolen on the Facebook platform for those making videos on YouTube.

At Just Media we see both YouTube and Facebook video campaigns perform well. For Facebook we report on video completions vs video views because the 3 second mark really doesn’t give the client any benefit. While every platform has their pros and cons, it is important that before any campaign goes live to set the proper campaign goals and expectations. What are the most important metrics? What are the goals? This should come from the client, but we are here to guide them as well as push the boundaries.

As far as which video platform is superior, that is still to be determined. There are benefits to advertising on both, so it is important to compare them evenly based on your campaign goals.

Carrie Cooney
Just Media, Inc.

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