Facebook Video Views: Getting the Facts Straight

November 24th, 2015 in Social Media 2 minute read

One of the big changes I’ve seen since I started working in social media is the emergence of Facebook video. I’m sure that even casual users have noticed the sheer volume of videos now present on our newsfeeds, the stats show that videos are viewed 8 billion times A DAY on Facebook. In this post I’m going to talk through the benefits of Facebook video, but also point out some of the issues that render a lot of the figures massively embellished.

The biggest change for content creators is that now an embedded YouTube video simply won’t get the same views compared to if you upload the video directly through Facebook’s uploader. This is largely because Facebook’s algorithm is set up to prefer their own content (handy advice for anyone producing video content), and also impact on the way Facebook now counts views.

In a nutshell, Facebook counts anyone looking at a video for 3 seconds as a view, regardless of the length of the video. YouTube waits an average of 30 seconds before counting a view, (depending on video length). This is a bit of a problem, as videos on your Facebook timeline auto-play and a view is counted after 3 seconds even without sound. It’s perfectly possible that someone scrolling slowly through their feed will register as a viewer, but were they really engaging with the video?

There’s lots of average figures for retention rates on Facebook, but here’s one directly from us. We posted a video with a reported 6,701 views, as you can see here:

Facebook video views

On deeper reflection, this 6.7k viewer figure was only counted after 3 seconds. After 10 seconds, the numbers dropped to 1,960 views.

How many of the 4,741 people that dropped off in those 7 seconds can honestly be considered viewers?

The bottom line is, Facebook video is massively popular and choosing not to use their uploader in favour of embedding from an external player is limiting the number of viewers for your video content. Just don’t get carried away with the initial viewing figures, be sure to check your analytics fully to understand when your audience is dropping off, and if your video content is truly as engaging as it could be!

If you want any help with your video content strategy or are interested in adding video content to your marketing strategy then please get in touch we’d be happy to talk to you!

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