Facebook video views exaggerated for over two years – everything marketers need to know

October 13, 2016Social Media

By Claire Austin, Head of Audience, King Content

Last week, Facebook revealed that one of their key metrics ‘Average Duration of Video Viewed’ was not actually accurate and it has been miscalculated for the past two years. Oh dear Facebook, that’s quite a big mess up, (glad I wasn’t in the room when Mark was told about that!).  FB actually fessed up to the fact that they have exaggerated video views about a month ago, but it’s only now that it’s coming to light and everyone’s panicking.

I’ve compiled a quick overview of the situation and what Facebook video’s means to you as a business and marketer.

Facebook statement:

….we erroneously had *calculated* the Average Duration of Video Viewed as “the total time spent watching a video divided by *only* the number of people who have viewed a video for three or more seconds.”

What does this mean?
Facebook wasn’t presenting the average of all views. All those billions of people who watched less than three seconds weren’t counted, resulting in average times that looked much better than they should have.

I did a campaign last year, does this apply?
Yes, this goes back two years unfortunately, to when they introduced video ads.

Will everyone’s results have been skewed?
Yep, everyone using video ads in every region, so you’re not the only one!

How does this affect my previous results?
Average Facebook video view time would have been affected, but all other metrics are correct. However, this will have affected your competitors as well, and industry averages will have been based on all of these results.

How big was the discrepancy?
Facebook believes average view time has been overestimated by 60 to 80 per cent.

What does this mean for my next video campaign?
Average view times are likely to be lower, however, we still know that video content is No.1 in terms of engagement and has the lowest engagement cost at an average of $0.05 on Facebook. Also, we know from recent research that video is still on the rise. By 2017, 74 per cent of content on the web will be video!

Has the problem been fixed?
Yes it has! They are also introducing two new metrics – how convenient!

Video Average Watch Time
This will replace the average duration of video viewed. It will be the total watch time for your video divided by the total number of video plays. This includes plays that start automatically and on click.

Video Percentage Watched
This will replace ‘Average % of video viewed’. It reflects the percentage of video someone watches per session. It will be averaged across all sessions of your video ( auto-play and clicked).

So, yes it’s annoying and unfortunate, however this shouldn’t deter companies from using Facebook video ads. I still see this as a key video native ad format for the right businesses to be tapping into. At King Content we work with a number of different partners to seed video content to the right audience, so we can see the results across all platforms and just how well this content format is performing. And we can confirm from our experience that Facebook isn’t misleading us on that front. We are an era of video lovers and that ain’t changing anytime soon!

For more great video stats click here!



If you have any more questions about Facebook video views and the introduction of the two new metrics, please comment below or email us.