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Facebook has recently apologized after miscalculations led to inflated metrics on video views. Such errors in reporting have caused major advertising agencies and publicists to take a stand, raising the question-have artists been getting scammed by Facebook video?
Since the launch of its video platform, Facebook has been competing with YouTube to become a prime marketplace for sharing and distributing video content on the web. For an artist, knowing where a video will get the most views is an essential part of marketing. It allows the artist to directly communicate with a greater percentage of their fans and make their content more easily accessible. However, unlike YouTube, Facebook is a website designed for much more than just videos. Since the videos default to silence unless clicked upon, a lot of clips could be scrolled through or easily missed among the plethora of other posts occupying a news feed. Not to mention, Facebook contributes a “view” to a video after only 3 seconds of play (with or without the sound on). Since the videos start playing by themselves, it is not a difficult task to perform on accident. This is a clear contrast to YouTube’s view policy in which a user has to actually click on the video and watch past the 30 second mark in order to contribute a “view” to the video.
So even though artists may have been getting more “views” on their Facebook videos, what constitutes a view is vastly different among various websites. Since many advertising agencies use this data (such as the number of video views) to book video spots for major clients, this inflated video metric error has caused a ruffle in the marketing community. Wall Street Journal stated that Facebook overstated video data to Publicis Media “by as much as 80%.”
In the music industry, especially for rising artists, tracking the best means of communication with fans is essential. If data is being misconstrued, and artists have been spending time distributing content on platforms that are not actually reaching as many fans as being reported, their time could be wasted and their efforts in vain. It is important to take a closer look at the data being provided by different websites in regards to videos-such as how many people actually click to turn on the sound on a Facebook video-in order to clearly gauge which web platform is best for content distribution.