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How Do You Know if Your Facebook Video Was Successful?

A few weeks ago, we posted a video to accompany my blog about profanity in the workplace. We all thought it was hilarious, and we had a great time shooting it. We got great feedback from our friends and family. A guy I met at Propelify actually recognized me from the video. But, when I looked at our Facebook video stats for view length and percentage of views with the audio turned off later that week, I was disappointed.

Now, I’m going to do something I’ve never seen done before because I think there are a lot of misconceptions about how videos perform on Facebook. I’m going to show you the insights for our post. Not hypothetical numbers, not industry averages…the real numbers.  

How Does Facebook Define a Video View?

Our post reached 559 people, and the 38-second video was viewed 246 times. First of all, it’s important to understand how Facebook defines a “view”. Facebook video views are “the number of times your video was viewed for an aggregate of at least 3 seconds, or for nearly it’s total length, whichever happened first.” Considering that 96% of our views came from auto-plays, folks only had to stick around for about 2 more seconds to be counted as a view.

So, how long did people really watch? The video’s average watch time was only 10 seconds. That means on average, people only watched the first 25% of the video. Only seven people clicked on the link we included in our post, and to be honest, I know at least a few of those views and clicks were from DSM staff.

How Many People Watch Facebook Videos Without Audio?

Another important statistic for our video was how many people actually heard the audio. Without the audio, this particular video doesn’t make any sense. According to our Facebook insights, 70% of people watched the video without audio. We didn’t add subtitles to our video (lesson learned; we should have!), so most people who viewed our video missed the point altogether.

Best Practices for Facebook Video

So, here’s what we’re going to do differently next time.

1. SUBTITLES. Pretty self-explanatory. Here’s a great how-to for adding subtitles to your Facebook video. You can also put a call to action on the video encouraging people to turn their audio on.

2. Grab viewers attention from the start. Most of your viewers are going to have the video auto-play in their feed. Think about how you can grab their attention in the first second. What will make your viewers stop scrolling through their newsfeed to actually watch your video?

3. Provide value from start to finish. Once you’ve grabbed their attention, you need to give them a reason to stay. You can find plenty of recommendations for the ideal length of a social media video (usually, the shorter the better), but I don’t hear a lot of people talk about the quality of the content. Entertain. Inform. Captivate. But please don’t celebrate when people watch 100% of your boring video.

How Do You Define Success?

There’s no shortage of data to dig through when it comes to videos on social media, but at the end of the day, you need to determine what KPIs matter for you. What are you ultimately trying to achieve with your video? If it’s brand awareness, longer average views are what you’re looking for. If it’s website traffic, the length of your view won’t matter as much as the number of clicks you get (in fact, if people only watch the first few seconds of your video and are compelled to click, that’s a win). Whatever you’re trying to achieve, it’s not enough to look at the number of “views” that Facebook provides near the bottom left-hand corner of your video. Dig deeper into the statistics Facebook provides and make sure your video is actually helping you achieve your goals.

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