What’s A Video View Worth?

Facebook is making a big push into online video in a direct challenge to Google. Last month Facebook announced it now averages more than 4 billion video views a day, which is a massive jump from the 1 billion a day just 6 months ago. Interestingly, more than 75% of Facebook video views are on mobile devices.


With stunning growth like that many are wondering if Facebook will overtake YouTube which hit 4 billion views a day back in 2012 and currently gets about 7 billion views daily.

However comparing Facebook video views with those of YouTube is not really comparing apples with apples.

Facebook videos play automatically in News Feeds and any video that plays for more than three seconds before someone scrolls past it is counted as a view.  In contrast, YouTube only counts a view after a user has watched a video for about 30 seconds, i.e. 10 X longer than Facebook.

This difference in what constitutes a view is significant. It means that YouTube views are more likely to reflect engagement and that videos are being consciously watched. Whereas with autoplay masking what a view really is, videos on Facebook are far more likely to be seen, but not watched.  As a result many any are skeptical about the value of a Facebook view and regard it more like an impression.

However it’s worth mentioning that when video goes viral Facebook can completely overshadow YouTube due to the vast number of people exposed to it. A good example of this is the “Dear Future Generations, Sorry” video released in April on both YouTube and Facebook.

The YouTube stats are pretty impressive: 762 k views, 33k likes, 20k shares. But now look at the Facebook stats which simply blow YouTube out of the water: 59M views, 77k likes, 1.6M shares!

Why should you care?

From the above it’s clear that Facebook and YouTube video views shouldn’t be directly compared – they are quite different. But it’s also evident that if you are lucky enough to have a video go viral you’ll get massive exposure with Facebook.

The more important thing to care about is the message in the “Dear Future Generations, Sorry” video…

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About the Author Jeremy Templer & Mark Sceats

Jeremy and Mark are two of the partners behind SureFire Search. Despite their deceptively youthful appearances, both have worked in search marketing for many years. To put that in context, Google didn't even exist when Jeremy started.