Updated on February 7, 2020
When videos go viral, it’s all about the views. That’s because it’s a very easy metric to conceptualize – it’s the number of times your video has been watched, right?
Well, it turns out, it’s not that simple.
Every single social media platform has a different definition of a view, and a particularly tricky one to understand is Facebook.
How is a Facebook Video View Defined?
A Facebook Video View is defined as any video that autoplays for more than 3 seconds. Even if the user doesn’t initiate the audio, this user still counts as a view.
That means you really have to take your view count with a grain of salt, especially when Facebook uses this method of view counting to mess with their other metrics, like average view duration.
You have to ask yourself, “If everyone only watched my video for only 3 seconds, are the views really a great measure of my video’s success?” What you really need to think about is the other metrics show that your view count is legitimate because they prove people are truly interested in your content.
Engagement Case Study: Fill My Basket
Take for example this video Green Buzz Agency produced with Upworthy and Cricket Wireless. In under two months, it already had more than 15 million views. That’s still an impressive number. But something that is even more impressive is the amount of engagement on the video. It had over 252k shares, 8.1k comments, and 255K reactions on Facebook. On top of that, some of those comments have over 2,000 likes and 75 replies.
Along with the metrics, there’s real proof this message caught on. Several groups have contacted Fill My Basket to let them know that they will be starting a similar group in their own community. If that’s not proof of the power of this branded video, I’m not sure what is.
This engagement rate shows that the video content is valuable and meaningful, and that lends legitimacy to its view count as well. When you have an engaged viewership, it means consumers are likely to have watched your video and will recall your brand and message.
Audience Retention and Other Metrics
Meanwhile, there are also other metrics you can track besides engagement. For instance, you can see if your viewers initiated audio on your video. That means they were truly invested in your content and not just dozing off in front of their newsfeed. Another great metric is “Video Views up to 95%” – this will show you how many viewers watched most of your video.
Additionally, you can assess every second of your video’s content through an audience retention report. It’s important to understand that video views are not linear. Viewers can skip past the intro, play until 15 seconds, then skip to the 30 second mark, and then replay the whole video from the start. This audience retention report shows you the percentage of viewers that watched a certain section of your video.
Now, what does audience retention mean to you? If there is a trend that people are skipping a part of your video, or re-watching a certain part of your video, that has to mean something. But it’s different for every video. For instance, if you have a how-to video, and your viewers are constantly re-watching a certain part, it probably means that your video is confusing. That’s just one example – you have to think hard about the context of your video.
Analytics are just not as straight-forward as “How many views does it have?” Sure, views are nice, but they’re just one component in a myriad of considerations to determine the success of your video content. If you’re driving engagement, that’s what will lead to your best ROI.
4 Key Takeaways
- Facebook defines a view as a 3 second watch after autoplay.
- Likes, comments, and shares are a great way to make sure your views are legitimate.
- 95% completion and User Initiated Audio metrics show you who isn’t scrolling past your video.
- Audience Retention Reports lets you understand what parts of your videos are working.
Leah Eder, Marketing Coordinator and Blog Editor at Green Buzz Agency.
Emily Herman contributed to this article.