The ever-increasing reach of Facebook is undeniable. The social networking site has added many new features over the years to extend its ability to connect people and deliver different forms of content. One of Facebook’s latest endeavors, Facebook Live, has already been used by many podcasters as either a broadcasting tool or a way to provide supplemental content. And while Facebook Live may prove to be useful to independent producers, it’s also being used by large brands. This interest is likely what led Facebook to review some of its metrics and reporting practices. The company recently published a blog post on its Facebook Business site addressing changes it has made to these systems.
The one item that may be most interesting to podcasters is Facebook’s new policy for measuring video completion. Video completion is Facebook’s stat for showing that a video has been watched all the way to the end:
When partners upload their videos to Facebook, the full video length is recorded, but when the video delivers to people’s devices, the length of the video can sometimes be a fraction of a second shorter or longer. This occasionally happens when the audio and video track don’t line up, owing to differences between video players and devices. While someone may watch a video to completion on their device, the audio may continue to play for a bit longer. This particular issue caused us to undercount the metric ‘video watches at 100%’ (previously named ‘video views to 100%’). Moat found this and reported it to us. We are now updating how we read the video length to address this issue. This may result in roughly a 35% increase in the count of ‘video watches at 100%.’ For example, if ‘video watches at 100%’ were 1%, they would now be 1.35%.
(Note: Moat is one of Facebook’s third-party measurement partners.) According to the above paragraph, Facebook will be tweaking its “views to 100” metric retroactively, so producers may see a noticeable increase in this category when viewing their stats.
A different Facebook feature that probably isn’t used by many podcasters yet, but might be used more in the future, is Instant Articles. There are also changes coming to how Facebook measures interaction with Instant Articles:
Instant Articles is a way for any publisher to create fast, interactive mobile content on Facebook. We also provide publishers with insights to help them understand how their content is consumed. We’ve determined that the average time spent per article had been over-reported by 7-8% on average since August of last year. This was caused by a calculation error: we were calculating the average across a histogram of time spent, instead of reflecting the total time spent reading an article divided by its total views. We have now fixed this issue.
Here we have a case that’s the opposite of what happened with the video metrics. If you’re already using Instant Articles and saw the “average time spent” metric go down, that happened as a result of the changes covered in the above paragraph.
These two examples just barely crack the surface of all of the changes Facebook is making to its metrics and reporting system. Click the link above if you’d like to learn what else Facebook is working on in this area.