Serious questions are piling up about the value of Facebook video ads and the actual viewing time.

How long do people watch them? Do they click on them at all? Has Facebook been miscalculating the time people watch? Would it be better to use something like YouTube?

One lawsuit against Facebook that alleges they have been calculating the views or length of viewing time incorrectly. By using a different number to divide by, Facebook may have overstated the actual time the video was watched by followers of a page. The viewership in question may be as high as 190 to 900 times overstated.

WOW! I find it hard to believe that a company full of high tech, brainy folks in Mountain View California could get their math wrong on a “simple” thing like length of viewing time and number of views. But I’m sure how you define the terms makes a difference too.

For a long deep dive into your content, podcasting has it all over Facebook. But I guess that is no surprise. People are using Facebook for social media, just to find out what their friends are doing or thinking. (Or at least what their friends are saying that they are doing/thinking, but that’s a different subject!) A recent interview in Dave Jackson’s School of Podcasting explains how YouTube - and certainly your own Podcast - is much much more effective than Facebook for getting a message listened to. Although someone’s page may have hundreds even thousands of views, the views are so quick, that people are not absorbing the content.

The podcast is comparing viewership of Facebook Live recordings that were boosted as paid advertising and I’m not sure what type of videos the lawsuit was about.

I just boosted two different videos for a client which seemed to have great results. Lots of people showed up at their event and that was the goal. But because of the podcast I listened to on Monday and the article I read this morning, I’m less comfortable claiming the stats we got from Facebook when I’m showing the client their results for their money. (I’m happy their event was good, otherwise it’d be a more difficult conversation.)

The Bigger Problem
The real problem is that there isn’t an independent group reporting the numbers. In the past advertising viewership (readership/engagement) was measured by old stand by’s like Neilson ratings for TV viewing or BPA for magazines, Technorati (RIP) — now Alexa for websites. Of course there are lots of other audit measures… but who, other than Facebook, sees how long people view things on Facebook?

The numbers that the podcasters are looking at are consumption figures from Apple Connect (formerly iTunes). It’s only a part of the audience because it doesn’t include people who listen on a host of other platforms (Stitcher, Castbox, Spotify, Google Play, - especially Android phones.

This all is a moving target as developers create tools and more developers change platforms… and of course the view public changes their collective mind.

Remember MySpace, Friendster, etc? Perhaps Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat will be replaced just as quickly.

But from a marketer’s standpoint, keeping up with all the social media platforms, one thing is clear. If you own your hosting, domain, content and are not relying on the platforms that you pay to tell you that you have viewers, you have a better chance of trusting the numbers.

Meanwhile, pay per click, anyone?

Facebook Video Ads Not Measuring Up?

One thought on “Facebook Video Ads Not Measuring Up?

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