Imagine taking the time and resources to create a clever advertising video. Imagine spending the money to display that video to thousands of people on Facebook. Then, imagine finding out that 85% of video views on Facebook happen with the sound off. Imagine the confusion and anger you feel when you get this news.
You can stop imagining because this problem is a reality. According to a recent report from Digiday, “Facebook might be hosting upwards of 8 billion views per day on its platform, but a wide majority of that viewership is happening in silence.” In addition, “Facebook counts a video view at 3 seconds.”
So, let’s get this straight. Almost everyone is viewing Facebook videos without the sound. Worse, Facebook counts a video view at only 3 seconds, rather than if someone watches half or all of the video. Sounds pretty fishy, right? In other words, Facebook tells advertisers that users are watching their video ads. Yet, hardly anyone hears the sound, and Facebook charges you if users only see the first 3 seconds.
It gets worse. According to Kalkis Research, “Independent studies have revealed that ad campaigns are polluted by fake clicks and bots. An experiment by the traffic quality verification startup, Oxford BioChronometrics, has shown that under certain circumstances, bot traffic generated by ads on Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook may be as high as 90%. Bots can be highly evolved, emulating a human-like behavior, and virtually impossible to detect, rendering ad campaigns useless. ”
Let’s recap again. Almost nobody watches Facebook videos with sound and you get charged for only 3 seconds of viewing. Now, we find out that up to 90% of the “users” watching video ads might not even be human. They’re just bots.
Add this data to a past Wall Street Journal report that revealed “Brands only reach 6.5% of fans with Facebook posts.” You’ve got to wonder if Facebook has done more harm than good to advertisers.
One of my current clients has worked hard to attract over 2 million Facebook fans. By all accounts, you would consider them a social media success. Yet, Facebook holds those fans hostage by forcing my client to pay a five-figure advertising fee just to reach all of their own audience. It’s the Internet’s version of highway robbery.
The point of telling you this information is to make you aware of reality. If you’re going to build an audience on Facebook or create video ads to reach Facebook users, make sure you understand the limitations. Otherwise, you will get caught in the great Facebook fakeout. But, don’t try to complain on their system. Their default mode is to leave the sound off.