What we learned from the top Facebook videos of 2019 so far


By   |   February 22nd, 2019   |   Reading time: 5 minutes Digital Journalism

Social Media, Social Media analytics

Native video has always been a highly engaging part of the Facebook experience. We looked at the data from 2019 to see who’s driving the most engagement for Facebook videos so far this year.

At this point, anybody that reads this blog on a semi-regular basis will know two things; that what happens natively on Facebook is very different to what happens on the wider web, and that video is one of the most powerful drivers of engagement on Facebook.

As we do the monthly publisher rankings of web publishers, we wanted to do something similar with native Facebook videos, so we looked at the top video Pages, and the top videos published on Facebook for 2019 to date.

The power of Facebook video

First off, it’s worth reiterating just how powerful an engagement driver video is for Facebook Pages. When we looked at the numbers for English language Facebook posts containing video for 2019 so far, we found that although video is only around 12 percent of the content posted on the platform, it’s responsible for approximately 25 percent of the engagements driven.

This goes to show how the visual is still an incredibly powerful aspect of Facebook, with video and photo still making up almost two thirds of the engagements to public Facebook posts. So while links still make up the majority of these public Facebook posts, with some 60 percent of the content posted, photos are actually the format that drive the most engagement, though video over-performs the most.

The top Facebook video of 2019

In terms of who the top Pages are for creating engaging Facebook video, we see a very different picture to that which we saw for the top web publishers of January. As a reminder, here’s what that looks like.

Fox News was top, and was joined by a number of other news sites with instantly recognizable names, often legacy media.

For video, viral publishers are still a dominant force.

Despite UNILAD and Lad Bible’s recent focus on promotion of their web links, and the huge rise they saw in those numbers last year, they are still the major players in the video space, and by some considerable distance.

Both saw engagement of around 45 million, while their nearest viral rivals maxed out at 26 million for the year; the likes of Viral Thread and 9Gag.

There were a couple of legacy publishers in the list in CBS News and the Daily Mail, who achieved around 15 million engagements for the year so far, but they were outperformed generally by the digital natives.

What was the top content in Facebook videos in 2019?

So now we know who the top publishers were, what about the top content? We looked at the top English language video posts across total interactions, shares, comments, angries, and loves, to see what difference, if any, there was between what was successful in these different metrics.

First of all, here are the videos that got the most interactions in total:

The top video came from the South China Morning Post, and featured footage of a school principal dancing with their students. The top videos tended to be humorous, emotional or exciting with a baby’s reaction to food an example of the former, and announcements such as the new Game of Thrones trailer or a laundry folding robot at CES examples of the latter.

Six of the top ten posts had emojis in the summary, and the average length of the ten most engaged videos was 94 seconds, a little shorter than we saw for the average of the top 1,000, which was just over 100 seconds. Still, it puts paid to the idea of videos needing to be under a minute to drive engagement, and shows that successful social video can be a little on the longer side.

For shares we saw many of the same videos appearing, which confirms that a number of the top videos get a good deal of their engagement from shares specifically.

That South China Morning Post video, for example, got more than 60% of its engagement from shares, and the laundry folding robot was closer to 75% in terms of the number of engagements that were shares.

When we switched to comments, however, the picture began to change a little. There tended to be far fewer comments than shares on these videos, but there were clear winners in the category.

Lad Bible and UNILAD dominated this metric, with seven of the ten most commented Facebook video posts coming from them. This could in part be down to share commenting, where users are encouraged to tag specific friends in the comments in order to share the content specifically with them.

Loved and angried Facebook videos

Having looked at some of the more common metrics, we decided to look at two of the more specific reaction metrics, to see how these categories differed.

Love is the most commonly used reaction, and cuteness abounds in the videos that people react to with the love reaction.

In a twist on the old saying, if you want love on your videos, work with children and animals. Children and dogs appeared in more than half of the most loved videos, and the rest tended to be made up of people doing extraordinary things to help other people.

In terms of the most angried, it was politics, from both sides of the aisle.

The captions tended to be much longer, and seven of the top ten Facebook videos that drove angries were about politics. Now This and their owned channels were responsible for half the videos that drove angries.

Angries tended to be much less prevalent than other reactions, but some stories did still drive considerable numbers.

What we learned about Facebook video

So, what did we learn? Here are a few takeaways:

  • Video can be very rewarding for the top publishers in the space, with 25 percent of the engagements on Facebook despite only being 12 percent of the content
  • Shares were a significant part of this, often driving up to 75 percent of the total engagement for the top videos
  • UNILAD and the Lad Bible dominated the most commented videos, with seven of the top ten between them
  • The average length of the top 1,000 English videos was 100 seconds
  • Love was the most common reaction, but politics also drove a significant amount of angry reactions

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