The Play’s the Thing? Get Real on Video Metrics

Facebook-AutoplayAutoplay – for most of us, it’s an annoyance. For marketers, it’s spawning a whole new way to market with videos and a new way to view video metrics themselves.

“Years ago, brands and agencies were doing a bit of soul-searching when what constituted an impression on a Web ad was up for debate. Was it someone just opening a page that an ad was on? What if the ad was, as GershonMedia president Bernard Gershon called it, a ‘shitty banner right at the bottom’?” asks Shareen Pathak in Digiday.

“Now, the same question is being asked with video views, thanks to platforms that have made autoplay and mute videos part of their offerings,” Pathak continues.

With Facebook and Twitter both heavily into autoplay of those video ads, brands have to decide for themselves what constitutes a “view.” If it plays but no ones watching, does it do you any good?

“In most cases, the problem is that what constitutes a video ‘view’ exactly is up for debate,” Pathak explains. “If ads are being autoplayed, views are easier to get — but whether they’re worthwhile is still a question brands are asking.”

Facebook charges advertisers for every view every time, even if it’s only for a second, and even if it’s not a unique view. YouTube also doesn’t care about unique viewers, while Twitter only starts the billing meter after three seconds.

One brand that is making some creative hay with the confusing video ad landscape is, leveraging the “mute” feature on Facebook with visual cues that drive engagement even if the sound is off.

“Online video is a critical part of our marketing approach, and Facebook offers us unique opportunities with their video offering,” said Mike Wolfe, senior director brand marketing at in another Digiday article. “Our objective with our silent ad campaign was to increase break through, and ultimately engagement with our audience, through platform-specific creative.”

They’re meeting that objective, with a nearly ten-fold gain in organic reach. As with all things marketing, it’s up to the brand to decide for itself what makes a meaningful and worthwhile metric.

As Gershon notes, “As someone from the content side, what Facebook says is a view isn’t really.”