In August, Facebook announced three changes to how video views are reported as part of an initiative to (a) give a more accurate view of video consumption and (b) simplify reporting by reducing the number of available metrics. These updates better reflect how video consumption has evolved and shifts advertiser thinking towards quality of view, rather than quantity.
The changes are as follows:
- Adding a new “Video Plays” metric, which measures when a video starts to play after an impression;
- Updating the methodology and definition of 3 and 10-Second video views to exclude repeated seconds (e.g. a user rewinding to watch something again) and;
- Removing two underused metrics (30 second video views and video completion %)
These updates make it clearer to understand when your video has played, how it was played, and for how long.
Planners and strategists should consider that Facebook video view numbers may be lower and Cost-Per-View (CPV) figures resultingly higher for the same budget and targeting based on the changed definition of 3- and 10-second views. When comparing campaigns with the old vs. new definition of 3/10-second view, we do not anticipate large noticeable changes to performance from this update to the definition based on Facebook’s estimated proportion of users who rewind and/or fast-forward video.
It is important to remember that:
- Users on Facebook can rewind and fast-forward all video ads in the same way as normal video
- Videos may not auto-play based on a person’s settings, network, behavior, or because of ad specifications.
In their old definition, the “3/10 second view” metrics were a good measure of engagement because they captured duration. However, they were less useful for measuring video consumption because you did not know whether a 10-Second Video View consisted of 10 unique seconds of your video or 5 repeated seconds of your video, for example. The new definition is a better measure of consumption as it only counts the unrepeated seconds of the video played.
The changes have also led to a categorization of metrics into:
- Duration metrics, which measure engagement and consumption. Analysis of these will provide insight to modify creative for improved performance;
- Only counting unrepeated seconds: “2-second continuous view,” “3-and 10-second view”
- Counting repeated seconds: “Video average watch time”
- Milestone metrics, which measure when certain points are reached either by continuous viewing or skipping forward:
- “Video plays”
- “Video watched at 25, 50, 75, 95 and 100%”
Best creative practice for the platform remains unchanged in suggesting shorter (<15 second) video for advertising and the custom thumbnail option can be used to transmit some message over to users where videos do not auto play, which can happen for several reasons. Other best practice elements also remain unaffected, such as including branding in the initial moments of the video and consistent branding throughout the video to capture users who may skip ahead/rewind.
Note on Ad Verification
Facebook currently allows 3rd party ad verification from Integral Ad Science (IAS) and DoubleVerify and have announced that MOAT will now be incorporated with the change to metrics.
In the absence of 3rd party tracking, the new “video plays” metric will go some way to helping differentiate impressions from views.
The changes detailed here give advertisers and agencies more transparency in video reporting and in the insights gleaned from Facebook. Brands can see this as a positive change in allowing them more accurate data relating to the consumption of video by their audience, facilitating creative development over time. For agencies, the changes will deliver more accurate reporting data which in turn feeds into stronger optimization and insights over time.
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