Over the past few years, as video transformed into the new king of content marketing, social media platforms constantly boast about the huge number of video views they bring in every day. With Facebook reporting over eight billion videos viewed daily, Snapchat showing 10 billion videos viewed daily, and more than 500 million hours of videos watched on YouTube every day, they’re definitely worth a few rounds of applause. After all, these huge numbers really encourage the continued use of both video, in general, and the platforms on which they’re uploaded.
But, among all of these amazing numbers, there is a lot of ambiguity about how to measure that coveted video view metric. Right now, there is literally no standardized formula for measuring video views. Without a clear standard for measurement, and with Facebook getting into hot water for inflating one of their video views, there’s been more and more arguments about what actually counts as a real video view. It definitely makes measuring your video’s success on social pretty difficult and confusing. So how do marketers go about measuring view count correctly and choosing the right social outlet to get the most views?
Know That Not All Video Views Are Created Equal
Video views represent the raw number of people who saw your video. That number basically translates to reach. When you go to measure those numbers across all your socials, you must first know that not all video views are created equally. All of the major video publishing platforms define views very differently. Because of their different standards, a view on one platform is not as valuable as it is on another.
Use These Metrics To Define Video Views Accurately
Given that each platform works with a different standard, its important to consider the following four key topics to help define an actual video view:
- Initiation: Whether the platform plays the video automatically or if the user must initiated it
- Time spent: The required amount of time spent watching the video before it’s counted as a view
- Viewability: Amount of video required to be on the screen before it’s counted as a view
- Platform: Whether views are only counted in-app or when embedded on other sites
Where To Get The Most Valuable Video Views
Now that we have these factors, let’s take a look at how each platform uses them to create their view definition. Once you know this, you can better understand which platform offers the most value for your video and your audience when it comes to views.
Facebook & Instagram
Facebook owns Instagram and, considering they each offer different video features, they measure view count quite differently.
When you break down Facebook’s count according to the stipulations above, it looks like this:
Since Instagram added the Stories recently, their view count also changed. It now looks like this:
At the end of 2016, Facebook reported 1.8 billion users and Instagram showed 600 million daily active users. These platforms obviously host massive audiences that consume a ton of video on a daily basis. If this is where your target audience spends most of it’s time and engages in content, then post your videos here and use their defined view count as your measurement.
Snapchat hit the market in September 2011 and introduced the idea communicating via self-destructing messages and fun filters. It initially attracted a younger demographic but, in recent months, the age range grew to include 38.5% of Snapchat users between the ages of 25-34 years old.
Here’s how Snapchat measures a video view:
Snapchat closed out 2016 with 158 million daily active users. The super popular app continues to look for more ways for advertisers to use video to get in front of their highly active and engaged users. If you’re looking to share super creative, bite-sized messages with Millennials and younger, then concentrate your videos here and follow your success using their view definition.
On a monthly basis, YouTube audiences watch 3.25 billion hours of video. That’s a massive number of people watching content exclusive to YouTube. YouTube defines those views as:
More and more studies show that the YouTube audience is actually older than you think. Today, 26% of YouTube users are 35-44 years old and that number looks to be growing. This platform is also a great place for tradition branding videos to run as short pre-roll and mid-roll ads. So, if you’re looking to market to a slightly older, video-engaged audience, with visually stunning video ads, YouTube is a good place to rack up the views.
Right now, knowing where to publish your videos in order to get the most views kind of feels like the Wild West. There are just so many different platforms using different measurements, and, yet, coming out with massive numbers of views. To smaller brands and businesses, those numbers look both enticing and overwhelming. But, once you break down the different definitions, take into consideration your objectives, and target the right audience, choosing the most valuable social platform becomes more clear and much easier.