When you scroll through the trending videos on YouTube you’ll likely see a lot of high view counts: BTS (방탄소년단) ‘IDOL’ Official Teaser – 11m views. Bring Me The Horizon – MANTRA (Official Audio) – 1.4m views. Nicki Minaj Performs ‘Majesty’, ‘Barbie Dreams’ & More (Live Performance) | 2018 MTV VMAs – 4.7m views.

All huge numbers, until you decide to browse Facebook and then see some of the videos as you casually browse your feed: Just a bunch of happy pigs playing in a lake – 65m views. Mmmm, here’s 4 spaghetti squash recipes that are great low-carb dinner options! – 35m views. “I wake up every morning to a pack of howling huskies” – 35m.

So, why are views on Facebook so much higher than they are on YouTube? Is it because there are more users on Facebook than there are on YouTube? Possibly, but that isn’t the reason for the huge difference. The reason is actually very simple, and is the reason why views on Facebook are somewhat, and possibly controversially, unreliable.

It all comes down to when a view registers as a view on the public view count of a video.

On YouTube, a view isn’t counted until the video has been watched for at least 30 seconds (or less if the video is below 30s). This is a fairly reasonable number, and shows that viewers are actively watching your video, and haven’t simply clicked on it by mistake.

On Facebook, however, a view is counted after just 3 seconds. The same goes for Twitter and LinkedIn. That means, when you’re scrolling through your timeline and you spot a video, which always autoplays, and you watch it for a moment and then continue scrolling, that actually counted as a view. Infact, you may not have even realized what it was you were watching, yet Facebook is so lenient it counted it as a view, despite the fact that you didn’t even really watch it.

This is exactly the reason why Facebook video views are so inflated, and why there are so many videos with 100m+ views. Most of them would have been from people scrolling through their timelines. Okay, maybe you did watch that viral of a cat falling into a bin the first time you found it on your feed, but the second, third, fourth times you saw it, you probably just scrolled right past – yet Facebook classified them all as a view.

This is why we can’t truly say that Facebook view counts are 100% accurate. It would certainly be interesting to see the 3 second views compared to the 30 second views on certain Facebook viral hits (which the analytics do show).

So next time you see a monster viral on Facebook, consider the amount of actual views it may have. This is why, when you’re looking to promote video content and raise awareness of your product or brand, we favour YouTube promotion. There are certain guarantees with reach, and you can be confident that your message will have been seen – not just the first 3 seconds of it.

For more information on promoting content on social media, get in touch with Viral Seeding today.

About Viral Seeding

Viral Seeding is a specialist content seeding and influencer marketing agency.

We offer a personal service, taking the time to understand your campaign requirements to execute a strategy that ensures that we deliver views, engagement, endorsement and sharing via social media.

Viral Seeding has worked on a variety of campaigns such as Greenpeace, Testicular Cancer NZ, BT and PGTips. If you think your organisation could benefit from working with us in the future please get in touch.