As Competition With YouTube Increases, Facebook Overhauls Its Video Analytics

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It’s been said that Facebook Video is becoming bigger than YouTube, as brands upload more video directly to the social network than ever before. Now, Facebook is catering to the needs of video publishers with the launch of a new Videos tab in Page Insights, which will allow publishers to better track the performance of videos across data ranges, along with other data, in a more accessible fashion.

[Update: Along with giving people who share videos more info, Facebook also announced today that it’s changed its News Feed algorithm to highlight videos people tend to watch full-screen, umuted, in HD. This kind of big data personalization allows it to show the people the most relevant videos, which will help it compete with YouTube for viewership.]

Before, Page admins and video publishers were able to track video metrics in Page Insights, but the data provided was only available when you chose the option to export the data from Facebook by selecting a date range and file format, like Excel. In addition, you could only see analytics on a per video basis, but now you’re able to track views at the Page level based on any custom date range.

Says Facebook, on the new, dedicated Videos tab, Page owners will be able to track views and 30-second views at a Page level, top videos within a certain date range, and metrics for videos shared from other Pages. In addition, Page owners will be able to toggle between breakdowns, like Organic vs. Paid, Auto-Played vs. Clicked-to-Play and Unique vs. Repeat, in order to better understand their own audience’s viewing behavior.

They can also drill down into a specific time period to see the views from just those dates, in order to understand views day-over-day.

And when viewing these benchmarks, Page owners can compare it to their average performance over time.

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Meanwhile, the “Top Videos” section shows which videos on the Page are the best-performing based on reach, views or average completion rates during a given date range. This sort of data helps video publishers better understand what sort of content works best with their audience. They can also click into videos to see individual metrics around engagement, audience retention and more.

Finally, Page owners will now be able to see views, reach, and other video metrics for the videos they’ve shared from other Pages, Facebook notes.

The changes come at a time when a number of social media managers and Page owners have been frustrated with Facebook’s video metrics, which have been inaccurate. Many were recently seeing video numbers that were much lower than they were around two months ago, and this caused some concern because it looked like their Facebook numbers were declining. However, Facebook confirmed that those bad metrics were just a bug. Apparently, that bug came about as Facebook was prepping for this larger overhaul of video metrics.

Another recent issue was that when exporting data for extended periods of time, some data points would be missing. For example, a user might be able to export 10 to 15 days of data without problems, but when they increased the range – say, to 3 months – many of the data points were missing.

For those tasked with tracking Facebook metrics like video views, the announcement that the section now has its own tab and an upgraded feature set is good news, as it means that Facebook hadn’t been ignoring the complaints – it had been working to improve the experience.

Not everyone is seeing the new Videos tab yet – instead, Facebook says that the features will arrive “over the coming weeks.”

Facebook’s interest in improving its video metrics and reporting arrives when the social network is seeing a rapid rise with regard to its video content. For example, a recent study of 80,000 Facebook video posts across 20,000 Facebook pages showed that the gap between Facebook video posts and YouTube shares grew significantly in December when brands then posted 20,000 more video to Facebook than to YouTube that month. In addition, Facebook video grew from 3 billion daily views in January to 4 billion by April, reports have shown.

In addition, another report by market research firm Ampere Analysis also recently stated that Facebook will deliver two-thirds as many video views in 2015 as YouTube – or two trillion compared to YouTube’s three trillion. Meanwhile, both services have similar monthly active user numbers – 1.4 billion for Facebook, and 1.3 billion for YouTube.