While the advantages of using native Facebook video far outweigh the disadvantages, comparing view counts between Facebook and Youtube is like comparing apples to (very small) oranges.
I was amazed last week scrolling through my Facebook feed of the view count on some of the very substandard videos I was seeing. Short clips from marketers with literally no thought towards audience or purpose were racking up impressions in the thousands.
So I decided to look into this a little more closely. What exactly counts as a Facebook video view?
First of all, there is no arguing that Facebook video is an incredible force right now in distributing video content. With a number now exceeding 8 billion views a day, combined with the fact that 65% of Facebook videos are now natively uploaded- if you are a marketer and not utilizing this medium- you are not doing your job.
The biggest advantage of posting Facebook videos natively is autoplay. As a consumer is scrolling through their feed, the initial images of your video have the ability to grab their attention.
I would have assumed in order for an impression or view to count, the user would need to select the video- which enables the audio.
But in reality, a Facebook view is logged after just three seconds of viewing, even if unselected and just scrolled past on a timeline. If a viewer is parked on a post above or below your video for just a moment, it is counted as having an impression or view.
In essence, you need to divide your Facebook views by 5, 8, maybe even 10 to get an accurate comparison to Youtube views.
So what does this all mean for us as content creators and you as marketers?
1) There really is no reason to not use both mediums, but Facebook native uploading is the way to go on their platform.
2) A view on Youtube counts for a lot more than an impression on Facebook.
3) Most importantly from content creation, it is very important to consider the medium in the final edit of the video.
In fact, I would now argue that every production requires a different edit for each platform. On Facebook- the first five seconds has to be visually dynamic and appealing without consideration of the audio. It is a much different edit than a traditional production, but the best visual content has to lead the video.
Youtube is similar, but I would say the window is closer to 10 seconds to pull in the viewer, plus the audio actually has a role on that platform when convincing viewers to keep watching.
We have now moved to a world where the two minute branding video we produce for your website should be re-edited for Facebook, slightly re-edited for Youtube, have a 15 second version created for Instagram, and edited into a dozen 10 second snippets for Snapchat.
Social media diversification for our clients is our top focus in 2016. It’s finding the perfect balance between content, audience and platform to produce the biggest ROI for our clients and their consumers.