We look at how publishers are adapting to, and relying on, Facebook video in all its forms.
Video is everywhere on Facebook these days.
Just this week, the platform announced that it would be prioritising live video in the newsfeed. But you’ve probably already noticed that anyway.
— Michael Bolen (@MichaelBolen) March 2, 2016
Now, we’re well past the stage where video is an interesting aside to what Facebook is about. The Boston Globe’s Matt Karolian told us:
“In 2015 Boston.com generated well over 12 million views, which is orders of magnitude more than what we were able to deliver through our site.”
Native video is now a vital tool for many outlets, allowing them to deliver stories to the audience on their terms: mobile, visual, and fast.
We decided to try and measure some of this growth, using social engagement numbers for some leading Facebook video publishers to illustrate the growth in engagement and adoption of native video.
We looked at five different publishers, all of whom are actively using the format on Facebook. For all of these figures, the numbers that we looked at were from each site’s main Facebook page. Data is via the NewsWhip database.
1) Growth in the number of videos per month
First, it’s no surprise that publishers are posting more and more native video. How much?
The five pages we surveyed have been increasing their native video output over the past few months. Here’s what the result looks like for all the pages:
CNN has the most dramatic growth, posting almost 300 more native videos in February than June on their main Facebook page alone. In February, they posted around 10 videos a day to their main page.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen that both Elite Daily and Upworthy have been shifting their focus to producing more videos. This is borne out when we look at their format outputs on their main Facebook pages over the last few months. Upworthy went from posting an average of around one video a day to over four.
2) Growth in engagement on video
Next, we looked at total engagement numbers with the video. This involved looking at the total engagements (likes + comments + shares) on the videos for each page. Engagements for all of the sites we surveyed increased significantly from last summer to last month.
We graphed the increases for the three biggest winners:
This shows major growth in engagements for each page, with especially big jumps from October to February.
Upworthy have seen growth of 575% in their total engagements from June to February, while upping their output.
And these engagement aren’t just coming through likes. Look at the breakdown that contributed to CNN’s 3.4 million total last month:
Shares, which all audience development teams look at with special interest, grew more than tenfold.
Of course, algorithmic favouring has to have played a large role here. How much of a role is difficult to judge.
3) Growth in proportion of videos as posts
The publishers have been taking note of the growing engagement rates, and are giving more resources to video, where possible.
In June last year, The Huffington Post posted 68 native videos on their official Facebook page. In October, that rose to 217 videos. In February 2016, the HuffPo posted 302 native videos on their main page alone, or 20% of their total posts (images, links and videos for the month).
Videos are counting for more and more of the overall total of post types on Facebook pages. Here’s how the Huffington Post’s total changed from June to February this year:
CNN also grew their native video ratio from 4% last June to 19% in February. It looks like publishers are listening to what’s being said about the importance of video in the news feed. These numbers show that for some, it’s paying off.
It’s clear that the sites are posting more and more video, at the expense of some other formats. And while one of publishers’ biggest concerns around Instant Articles rest with the lack of metrics, Facebook have just made a host of new measurements available to video publishers.
Between increased video posting and Instant Articles, more and more media consumption is taking place right in the Facebook app itself. A phenomenon that everyone’s been talking about for a while is now well and truly underway.
Next in this series, we’ll be looking at the types of videos themselves that are proving popular on Facebook. Be sure to sign up to our weekly newsletter to stay updated.