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Facebook Corrects Course on Video Metrics

Alexandria Ladd

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In the world of social media marketing, it’s essential to accurately report metrics. Metrics guide content creation, ad buys and overall strategy. So it’s no surprise that many marketers were dismayed when Facebook reported that it’s been inaccurately reporting metrics for the past two years. 

(Mis)Calculating Video Viewing Duration
On September 23, Facebook released a statement about a miscalculation in one of its video-viewing metrics. Previously, Facebook calculated average video-view duration by dividing the total time spent watching a video by the total number of views of that video. While that sounds accurate, the catch was that Facebook was only counting views when they lasted three or more seconds. Thus, videos that were viewed for one to two seconds were not factored into the calculation.

Once this error was realized, Facebook immediately updated the metric, which is now called “Video Average Watch Time,” for clarity. Additionally, Facebook ensured that this miscalculation did not affect other metrics, such as watch time or video views.

How Are Facebook Pages Affected?
So what does this mean for Facebook Pages? The biggest impact is on video performance. Marketers can expect to see a decrease in average watch time, as one- and two-second views are now added into the equation. Depending on the size of the intended Facebook audience, this could cause a significant drop in average watch time. The second impact is on paid media tactics. Advertisers may choose to look into other video sharing platforms if the decrease in average watch time is significant. We advise that marketers review the impact on metrics before deciding whether to shift media budgets.

Change in Strategy May — or May Not — Be Needed
It’s important for marketers to keep an eye on their video metrics now that Video Average Watch Time has been recalculated, as the updated metrics may require a change in strategy. However, it is also important to remember that despite this hiccup, Facebook is still a premier platform on which to post videos. With 8 billion views per day and 100 million hours of video watched per day, it’s hard to deny that Facebook is still a great place to share video content.    

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