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Social Media Marketing for Business

Brooks Tiffany


May 8, 2014

Facebook Video Metrics: 3 Best Practices to Make Them Work For You

With video engagement rising every month and auto-play video ads rolling into action, Facebook announced Monday that it would be updating Page Insights and Ads Reporting to include video metrics. Read on to learn what these new metrics include and how you can use them to your advantage.

Online video consumption is on the rise. According to a recent study done by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) – the number of American adults who watch online video has risen from 19% (45 million) in 2013 to 22% (52 million) as of April 2014.

Another interesting statistic by IAB reported that “more than half of monthly Original Digital Video users report their viewing of the medium as unplanned…[and] more than half do social media activities related to shows (52%) compared to only 38% who do so for Primetime TV.”

Facebook Video Metrics Graph

So what’s the take away? Online viewers behave differently when it comes to watching video – more importantly, they tend to rely on social media to point them in the right direction and this is huge for Facebook’s News Feed.

Advertisers have taken notice and so has Facebook. The News Feed battle ground is changing and Facebook is giving its combatants the tools tools they need to succeed.

Here’s a snippet of their Monday announcement:

“With the goal of helping you better understand how people respond to your videos on Facebook, today we’re announcing that new video metrics in Page Insights and Ads Reporting are coming soon…These new metrics are designed to help you learn what’s resonating with people and determine how to more effectively create and promote your videos on Facebook.”

While right now you can only see how many people began watching your video, the new metrics will reveal an array of information such as video views, duration of view, and audience retention.

Facebook Video Metrics Example

Source: Facebook Business

These updates couldn’t come at a better time as brands are just beginning to get their feet wet with auto-play videos and premium video-ads – and Facebook is well aware of that.

The new metrics will give page managers and advertisers the confidence they need to move forward with video engagement, especially the paid kind.

Let’s take a look at a break down of these new metrics and how you can use them to your advantage.

Video Metrics Application

I imagine the first question anyone will have when first hearing of this is whether or not these metrics apply to all videos on Facebook. The short answer is “no.” The new metrics will only appear for videos uploaded directly to Facebook.

However, the “clicks to play” metric will be available for all videos, such as those embedded from YouTube and Vimeo. Links to videos that take you to another site will not be tracked at all.

Best practice: From now on, you’ll want to directly upload your videos to Facebook. This will ensure you are taking full advantage of the video metrics. You can still embed videos from outside websites, but Facebook will only track how many times those videos have been clicked to play.

Video Views Breakdown

Facebook Video Metrics Views

Source: Facebook Business

Page Insights will have a detailed breakdown of the types of views your video is getting. First is the average duration of the video viewed. This will let you know the average percentage of your video that has been watched.

Second is “Video Views,” which are only counted if the video is watched for 3 seconds or more. This includes those videos that auto-play when scrolling through the news feed. This metric is then further broken down into “total views” and “unique views” with each of those divided into organic and paid views.

So, what if someone watches your video for 5 seconds and leaves? Don’t worry, Facebook has included a “Video Views to 95%” metric that will separate those high-quality views from the fruitless ones. This metric is also broken down into “total views,” and “unique views,” with organic and paid numbers represented.

Best practice: Keep a close eye on these numbers with every video you post and promote, then determine what methods are initially grabbing those 3+ second eyes and what is keeping them there for the long-haul.

Is it worth it to pay? Crunch the numbers here to find out how much each individual view is costing you.

Ideally, you’ll want to increase your average duration as much as you can, right?  But if your audience is stubborn and only hangs for the first 25% no matter what you do, then at least you’ll know that’s where your message needs to be.

The Audience Retention Graph

This is like an autopsy for your video. This chart reveals what percentage of views are happening at any given time throughout the video. In a time when the human attention span is a high-priced commodity, this graph is a gold mine of data.

Best Practice: Study this like an EKG. Was there a spike at 20 seconds? There must have been some good stuff there because people rewinded and watched it again. What’s with the cliff at 45 seconds? That scene chased them away. There is some really interesting and fun experimentation to be done here so get to it!

Facebook Video Metrics Audience Retention

Source: Facebook Business

Ads Reporting Updates

Apart from the Page Insights video updates, Ads Reporting got a few of it’s own unique metrics. These are aimed at appeasing the advertisers who will be paying lots of money and, at the same time, running Facebook’s high-quality news feed gauntlet to get their video ads seen. These new video metrics will look to strike a balance with the ROI that brands are wary of when it comes to video ads.

Video View Percentage Filter: With this you’ll be able to check off views at 25%, 50%, 75%, 95%, and 100% and get a break down of how many views made it to that point in the video. This differs from the Page Insights filter which only has the 95% metric, however, the audience retention graph displays these intervals.

Data Breakdowns: This will allow you to get really specific with targeting certain demographics such as age and gender so you can make sure your audience is the right one for your brand.

Costs per View: This reporting metric is pretty self-explanatory. The amount of money you put in divided by the number of views you are getting. Any math done for you is a step in the right direction, right?

Clicks to Play: The metric formerly known as “video plays” has been renamed “Clicks to Play Video,” to more accurately describe what its tracking. Whereas “video plays” might lead you to think the video has been watched all or most of the way through (auto-play included,) “Clicks to play,” let’s you know that it records a hit only after the person has clicked the video and it starts.

Facebook Video Metrics Filter

Source: Facebook Business

When Can You Expect This?

Facebook video metrics will gradually be released over the next few weeks so keep an eye out for them. It doesn’t matter whether your videos are paid for or organic, as long as you upload them to Facebook, the metrics will be available to you.

So, prepare you videos and be ready to do some experimentation. Facebook is about to give you the ultimate video analysis toolkit!

If you want to take advantage of Facebook’s new updates and drive more mobile engagement, email captures, and sales, click here to sign up, and we’ll show you how to launch a mobile campaign that converts at 10% or higher.

Tell us what you think and we may quote you in a future article:

What metric do you think is the most important? Did Facebook leave any out? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Brooks Tiffany


Brooks Tiffany is the Customer Engagement Leader and Technical Writer at Heyo in Blacksburg, VA. He's an Air Force veteran with a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech. He'll start pursuing an M.S. in Human Centered Design and Enginnering at the University of Washington this Fall.