Facebook recently introduced a feature where videos posted within their network automatically play when they are shown within the timeline on mobile devices. According to the Adobe Social Intelligence Report, video views on Facebook are up 785% year on year and 134% when comparing quarter four of 2013 against quarter 3 of 2013. There has also been an increase of 25% in likes and shares on these videos.
Now while these may be compelling figures in terms of views, there is no clear information regarding the amount of time actually spent watching these videos. If a video auto-plays when a user passes over it in the timeline, the video may only play for a few seconds or it could also play in it’s entirety to constitute a view. Unfortunately for online marketers this can be misleading as a “play” does not really equal a “play” when it automatically starts as you scroll over it and stop watching it by continuing to scroll past it.
Facebook really do need to incorporate an average play time within their Insights to prove to marketers just how effective this new “feature” really is. While the number of shares, likes and post clicks are all useful information, many users on Facebook are passively engaging with content and never actually choosing to like or share the content they are seeing. Youtube offer this information in their video analytics and this can be really useful for companies using the average time watched as well as the number of views as a true engagement statistic. Facebook could really deliver a better breakdown within their post Insights to show whether these video plays were on mobile devices or desktop devices, which could give us even more information regarding engagement with that content.
The limited information Facebook do provide us certainly paints a great picture of the potential for the video auto-play feature. Unfortunately I feel it is a bit misleading and more information needs to be provided to marketers so we can truly gauge how effective our marketing budgets really are.
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