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YouTube star complains Facebook has a “view” problem

When it comes to a video view count, Facebook and YouTube, the major social networks, may not share the same definition. The big blue social network counts a “video view” after three seconds of a video playing in all formats, while on YouTube it is 30 seconds.

A recent blog post titled ‘Theft, Lies and Facebook Video’, written by YouTube star Hank Green, complained that Facebook not only promotes natively posted videos more so than embedded YouTube videos, but also exaggerates the number of viewers.

According to Facebook for business page, “video view” is defined as a view of three seconds or more and will appear for all videos, including those that come to life as people scroll through News Feed.

“Ad agencies and brands are confused enough without Facebook muddying the waters by calling something a view when it is in no way a measure of viewership.” Green said.

According to Green, a video he recently uploaded to both YouTube and Facebook generated about 300,000 views on the former, and 150,000 on the latter. He noticed that 30 seconds in the YouTube clip still had kept 86% of viewers, whereas on Facebook the retention rate had plummeted to 21%.

He was also unhappy that the social giant promotes clips uploaded directly to Facebook more aggressively than those posted to the site via YouTube.

There are videos taken from other sites and uploaded to Facebook’s native player, giving that Facebook page the credit rather than the original copyright holder. Green said it encouraged intellectual property theft.

The problem is with “freebooting”, a process where people rip videos from YouTube and then natively post them to Facebook.

Matt Pakes, a Facebook project manager, defended the three-second definition of a video view. “While there is no broad industry standard for view measurement, three seconds is one common choice, and gives us a consistent metric for all video on Facebook,”

“If you have stayed on a video for at least three seconds, it signals to us that you are not simply scrolling through feed and you’ve shown intent to watch that video.” Pakes responded to Green’s blog post.

Pakes also defended Facebook’s method of promoting its own videos, claiming that users are more likely to engage with a natively uploaded clip.

Meanwhile, Facebook is opening an ad placement API for Instagram where advertisers can use the API to make layouts and add call to action buttons to buy products.

eMarketer forecasted Instagram-generated revenue could be as much as 10% of Facebook’s total ad revenue by 2017.

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