We take a look at the biggest Facebook video publishers of August, and analyse some of the more successful approaches. 
[bctt tweet=”‘A year or two from now, we think Facebook will be mostly video.’ – Ted Zagat, Head of Ad Products – Facebook” via=”no”]
Those words aren’t from a video evangelist, or a social media trends commentator. They came from Facebook’s head of ad product, Ted Zagat, at a conference last week.
For some, they further confirms a trend that many in the social publishing space have been seeing over the past year: that YouTube is no longer the sole video giant of the web. For others, it portends a significant shift in how users of the biggest content distribution platform of all time are looking to consume media.
June was the last time that we looked at the rankings of the biggest Facebook video publishers.
After pulling a fresh batch of data, we’re able to take another look at how publishers, pages and others are using Facebook’s native video feature to reach audiences.
Based on data from Spike, these were the top 20 in August, ranked by total shares of their videos that month:
Facebook Video August 2015
Note: These figures are based on English language Facebook pages in the NewsWhip database as of August 31, 2015. You can add any Facebook page to our database in Spike
This time, BuzzFeed Food have been replaced at the top of the most shared pile by UNILAD, while three more video ‘curators’, including ‘The Best of Tumblr’, and ‘Funniest and Craziest Videos’, take the next three spots.
Although this is only the second Facebook video ranking we’ve conducted, it already looks as though there’s a less stability in these numbers than there are with our overall Facebook content rankings.
Indeed, only 11 of the most shared pages in June remained on in August.
AJ+ and NowThis both maintained their strong positions, while one notable newcomer in August is Vocativ, the millennial-focussed publisher. Amongst others, they’ve made an ambitious push into video, and the effort seems to be paying off.
[bctt tweet=”‘@Vocativ’s most popular Facebook video clip in Aug. was a 57 secs long video about an off-road vehicle.'” via=”no”]
Since August 2, this clip has been shared over 1.3 million times, and viewed nearly 58 million times.

Part spider, part car: This vehicle can tackle just about any terrain. http://voc.tv/1N4Df4Y
Posted by Vocativ on Saturday, 1 August 2015
 

Another popular Vocativ video in August, featuring 3D-printed robotic limbs, was viewed over 25 million times. Vocativ’s Facebook videos follow a familiar template for successful social videos. They’re very short (the most successful under 60 seconds), they use captions to be understood without volume, and feature quick action shots. Talking heads are very much off the cards.

Of the more recognised publishers on the list, BuzzFeed again take big slices of the video pie. BuzzFeed Food’s August videos were shares over 3.3 million times during the month, and the BuzzFeed Video page maintained their strong showing, with over 2.6 million shares. Outside the top 20, there were also strong engagement figures for BuzzFeed BFF (801,500 shares), and BuzzFeed Oz (781,600 shares).
Last week, Jonah Peretti revealed that if the total number of eyeballs looking at BuzzFeed content across all platforms are summed up, Facebook video equates to 27% of all ‘traffic’ for the site. To put that number in context, here’e the rest of that breakdown:
Facebook August 2015 2
Actual Facebook referrals – good old-fashioned clicks on links in the news feed – account for a comparatively paltry 6% of combined attention in BuzzFeed’s measurement model. Although some would say that a click to a website is still more valuable than a quick view of a native video, it’s still a startling set of numbers.
[bctt tweet=”‘Facebook video makes up 27% of all traffic for @buzzfeed!’ says Jonah @Peretti”]
And that starts to make a little more sense when we look at the numbers that some of the individual videos themselves are achieving. Analysing average video share rates for the top pages, BuzzFeed Food comes in second, just after Ebaumsworld, with an average of 76,800 shares on each of their 43 videos in August. But BuzzFeed Food also had the most shared video of the month, a 40 second long clip showing viewers how to make an alternative breakfast, using bread in place of a bowl. That video has been shared over 1.95 million times, had nearly 110,000 comments, and has been viewed 117.3 million times since August.
By contrast, BuzzFeed’s most engaged traditional article of the month, ‘37 Surefire Signs You Went To College In The 90s‘, had 416,000 engagement (likes + comments + shares) in total. Put like that, it’s a bit easier to understand the potential that Peretti and others are seeing in Facebook video.
Despite this, challenges remain.
For most of the top 20 publishers, their most popular videos get the overwhelming bulk of their monthly engagement, while the rest can see fairly lacklustre numbers.
For instance, the UNILAD’s biggest video of the month made up 23.4% of its total shares in August. The combination of Vocativ’s two biggest videos (detailed above) counted for almost 88% of their August video shares. And Perez Hilton’s page is in the top 20 because of one video that went super-viral (also food-themed).
Many publishers will be eager to make use of the appetite for video, but our data shows that, even for the most successful names, it’s tough to judge what exactly is going to work in news feeds. Turning every story into a video, and expecting it to be viewed by millions is not a realistic expectation.
But video consumption growth continues, and Facebook have been upgrading their infrastructure significantly to deal with the boom.
And they aren’t stopping with just having more regular videos. Virtual reality looks to be the next area that Facebook is out to conquer. Meanwhile, we’ve already been tracking big volumes of engagement with Facebook Live video, a feature which has been extended to journalists and other verified pages just this month.
The data illustrates the competition for the attention of Facebook users generally. None of the top 20 pages in these rankings could be regarded as being particularly specialist (if we accept the premise that everyone enjoys food) in the way that the Facebook publisher rankings involve many political and sports sites, and the Twitter rankings are largely composed of news and tech publishers. Instead, the top video table looks more like Reddit’s front page, comprised largely of random posts bumped up to the top after being shared and liked across news feeds.
Now, more than ever, social media and audience engagement teams need to focus on what’s going to be interesting for their audience.

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