In the world of online marketing, it is very easy to get attached to statistics; likes, shares, engagement, page views, and video views are constantly under scrutiny. Forward-facing statistics such as “likes” and “followers” become an ego-boosting sticker points for Facebook and Twitter pages, and engagement including comments and shares play a huge role in guiding what type of content appears on a page in the future.
So views and likes and engagement are important, the feedback they provide helps shape similar content across all kinds of media. However, there is one statistic that is largely contested across the internet by some very large sites and corporations: video views.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, and a host of other websites thrive on video content and statistics. When a YouTube video reaches a “flashpoint” number of views, a snowball effect occurs where major media outlets like The Today Show, or Ellen DeGeneres share the video because it is popular, and give it EVEN MORE views; this prompts more sites to share the video as well… ultimately perpetuating this loop often called “going viral.”
Well. What is a “view”really? If the “view” is what dictates the ultimate success of a video, then we should look at what goes into that statistic across multiple platforms, and the answer varies wildly:
YouTube & Google Network
YouTube is still the video juggernaut of the internet with more than 1 billion users who watch “hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.” Most of these views come from the US, and specifically the 18-34 year old market, a traditionally hard one to reach with cable and radio.
The specific requirements for a view on YouTube or elsewhere in the Google network have not been explicitly disclosed, however it has been deduced that a view is counted somewhere around the 30 second mark. It is important to note however, that criteria is different for the first 300 views. Any eyeballs (legitimate or not) are counted when the view count is sub-300, and at 301+ the count is more strict and things like a 30 second minimum time are enforced.
Google wants to be sure that conscious humans are watching the video and eliminate false statistics from “bouncing” bots and uninterested viewers. This gives the Google Network of videos a sense of validity and trust, something that has helped propel the service to its place in the web-video industry today.
Facebook & Instagram
While video from Facebook and Instagram are relatively new entrants into the market when compared to giants like YouTube, you are still likely to see plenty of videos with millions of views in your timeline. Facebook even reports upwards of 4 billion views daily. But it is important to note that Facebook and Instagram differentiate from YouTube by allowing videos to auto-play without volume when users are scrolling.
Additionally, Facebook doesn’t require that sound be played for a view to be registered.
The only requirement that Facebook and Instagram have for a video view is a 3 second auto-play run-time. Any video that plays for 3 seconds with or without audio counts as a registered view. This has been seen as a way to Facebook to inflate its statistics, and thought to cheapen the data.
Twitter & Vine
Twitter and Vine vary slightly. Twitter only recently launched an auto-play feature for videos and gifs on its platform, and while a “view” was previously registered when a user clicked a video to engage with it, now it the stat has been retooled to fall in line with Facebook’s 3 second with or without audio standard.
Views on the Vine network are called loops, which are publicly displayed and triggered after a user watches the entire video. This is also with or without audio, but a video on Vine only last 6 seconds by rule, and users are likely to engage if the video is visually interesting.
Snapchat is the newest entrant into the brand-video space. Users can send each other pictures and video that last up to 10 seconds, the rub is that videos are immediately disposed of after 1 or 2 viewings (you get 1 replay as a user per day). The ephemeral nature of the platform makes it perfect for teens to communicate in a world where posts can “live forever” on platforms like Facebook; and the service also reports near 4 billion views a month on average, similar to Facebook.
However it is unclear where brands exist in this space, people are there but there isn’t a great way to engage with them at the time of this writing. Views you would receive as a business are registered when a user clicks on the video; however, it is common for users to “click-out” of videos after a few seconds if it doesn’t resonate with them, or come directly from a friend.
Any video content that a company produces should be geared to engage and serve the customers needs and be delivered where the customers are. If you are aiming to reach young adults and teens, and your message can be delivered in a 6-10 second window then you may benefit from Snapchat, Vine, or Instagram. If your audience is older YouTube and Facebook (the traditional online video platforms) may be a better bet.
The Primm Company is a full-service advertising agency with experts in content generation and web video, as well as Google Advertising. If you have a message that is best served in video form, we can help you create it, get it to your target audience, and drive conversions. Call (757) 623-6234 today to get started.