Facebook Video Plays up 785% Year-over-Year, says Adobe

Adobe’s methodologically questionable Social Intelligence Report (PDF) for Q1 of 2014, does manage to squeeze in a few useful insights on digital video.

(I say the report is methodologically questionable, because for metrics like CTR it relies solely on relative percentage increases or decreases, without providing absolute numbers for comparison. If the CTR is 0.05%, a Y-o-Y rise of 160% brings it up to either 0.08% or 0.13%, depending on your interpretation  of “Facebook ad CTR is up 160% year-over-year” and other, similarly ambiguous phrases throughout the report.)

What can we glean from the report?

1. Auto plays up 785%

Auto playing of videos in the newsfeed has increased video plays are by 785% year-over-year and 134% quarter-over-quarter. (page 5) This is not unexpected. What we still don’t know is the absolute number of people watching videos on Facebook.

Notice also that this is the number of video plays, not the number of views to a certain point of completion. This information would be very useful in measuring potential uptake of a brand message. For its TruView units, Google expresses this in people watching to 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of a video. Facebook should do the same.

2. 50% more video posts in Q1 2014 than Q4 2013

In Q1 2014, 12% of all Facebook posts contained video, up from 8% the previous quarter. (page 4) That’s incredible. It shows that people are becoming more comfortable creating or uploading their own videos.

3. Videos are highly engaging(ish)

Videos are also, now, the second-most engaging types of content, after images. Videos have a 3.3% rate of engagement, compared to 4.4% for images. (page 4)

What kinds of engagement does each post type generate? This brings us back to the issue of reporting methodology (or at least granularity). We can’t be sure what kind of engagement is most prevalent for each post type. Likes are still the most common action taken on posts, outpacing comments by a factor of 5.6. (page 3) Are videos more likely than images to generate higher-level engagement? We don’t know.