Tag: Youtube

Game of Thones : Facebook vs Youtube for video


Tuesday night niche parts of the internet went a little bonkers when the season 6 trailer of Game of Thrones was released, a week earlier than any fan anticipated.

HBO released the footage simultaneously on Facebook and Youtube. Both platforms quickly racked up millions of views, but I was really interested to see the what the difference was between the two and what that could mean for video sharing….(I promise there are no Season 6 spoilers in this post!)

Actually my thinking started last month when Ok Go – an American band, in part famous for their innovative music videos – released their latest video and chose to do so on Facebook only.

Hello, Dear Ones. Please enjoy our new video for "Upside Down & Inside Out". A million thanks to S7 Airlines. #GravitysJustAHabit

Posted by OK Go on Thursday, 11 February 2016

If a band that is famous for its music videos chooses Facebook over a dedicated video sharing platform, what does that mean for online video sharing? Has facebook overtaken Youtube as a video distribution platform?

Game of Numbers

Lets have a look at the figures that are publicly available for the Game of Thrones trailer, which used both platforms for a comparison.

14 hours after the release of the trailer the Youtube upload had gained over 6 millions views:

Game of Thrones Youtube

But the footage shared on Facebook,  well, that had over 19 million views:

Game of Thrones Facebook


So on the face of it, Facebook appeared to be performing over 300% better than Youtube.

But is it?

I suppose that depends on how each platform counts its views – how long does a video play for before it’s considered a view?

I’ve done some googling and Youtube, it seems, just don’t tell you what their time limit is – they don’t want people gaming the system, especially when you-tubers can earn income from advertising on their videos.  This from Atlanta Analytics seems to be the most plain English explanation on HOW Youtube counts it’s views:

“YouTube video count WILL increment when:

You watch a video on youtube.com, as long as you don’t reload the video a bazillion times….You watch an embedded video (using YouTube’s own HTML5 or Flash player) on another domain that requires you to hit play.

YouTube will NOT increment video count when:

You watch an embedded video in a player that has autoplay enabled (video begins playing immediately on page load).You watch a video that is loaded through a proprietary player via the YouTube API.”

But Facebook’s own insights shows me that public view count is:

“…videos on your Page watched for 3 seconds or more.”

From what I can gather from my reading it counts everything on it’s site or embedded elsewhere with or without autoplay.

So if videos on Facebook auto-play while you are scrolling through your feed, and if you are pausing for just a few seconds to read friends updates above or below the post it registers as a view, How accurate an indication of view counts are these figures? Did the Game of Thrones trailer really rack up that many views?

A look at Facebook Insights

Now I don’t have access to Game of Thrones video insights, but I do have access to other pages we’ve shared videos to and I can take a closer look at the figures there.

This is a video we shared onto the Stirchley Baths facebook page

Ron Coley is in 60's and has lived in Stirchley since a boy. in the 1970's he used to use the baths once a week for his, well, weekly bath. Twas quirky….

Posted by Stirchley Baths on Thursday, 11 February 2016

On the public side of the site it says it has had 431 views, which for a page with 975 “likes” is just under half the audience, but when we look at the overview insights they tell a different story.

Ron-Colley-Stirchley- Baths

Of the 431 views, 348 were unique and on average only 28% watched to completion.

And when we really dig down and export the data to a CSV it tells another story again.

Lifetime Total Video Views 431
Lifetime Unique Video Views 348
Lifetime Total 30-Second Views 98
Lifetime Unique 30-Second Views 85
Lifetime Total Views to 95% 56
Lifetime Unique Views to 95% 54

So according to the insights of the 431 views, only 56 watched to almost completion, that’s 12% of the total number displayed by Facebook as a “view” And when we throw in another set of stats. Facebook’s Autoplay vs Click to Play figures then it tells you something else again:

Lifetime Total Video Views 431
Lifetime Auto-Played Video Views 402
Lifetime Clicked-to-Play Video Views 29
Lifetime Total 30-Second Views 98
Lifetime Auto-Played 30-Second Views 76
Lifetime Clicked-to-Play 30-Second Views 22
Lifetime Total Views to 95% 56
Lifetime Auto-Played views to 95% 40 
Lifetime Clicked-to-Play views to 95% 16

The number of people who actively chose to click to watch the video was far far lower than those that watched it through auto play, but the retention rate of those that chose to watch to almost completion was much higher when someone had chosen to click on the link (10% on the AP compared to 52% CTP).

You can also break this down further in the insights if you want to, to people who watched with and without sound, but you don’t need to to see that Facebook’s Autoplay in news feed has a positive impact on viewer numbers on its platform, but nowhere near to the degree that the public facebook figures would have you believe.

The same video on Youtube had much lower viewing figures (30 overall from 26 unique users) but had a 74% view to completion rate. A true like for like comparison with Youtube is not possible as Youtube don’t give as detailed analytics as Facebook, but on the face of it people who watched via Youtube, watched for longer.

Maybe this is because they are on dedicated video sharing platform, or viewing an embed on a site where they’ve intentionally gone to find news on a project.

Who’s the winner?

So which is better for video sharing? I think it depends. Looking at the Game of Thrones trailer was a folly. It is a massively popular television series with an audience of millions and fan base that has eagerly awaits any tidbit of information and will watch, re watch and share any news they can get on any platform it’s on.

But for community use, for local news and for niche topics both is best. Youtube for it’s search and the ability to share , tag and target niche audiences and Facebook for the sheer numbers, the way it will appear and re appear in peoples timelines and for accessibility.

But which ever is best I think we can see that when looking at popular content we can’t take the viewing figures at face value and if you want to embed a video using Youtube, don’t have the autoplay enabled if you want the view to count.

I suppose I should also finish this with a disclaimer. I am a Game of Thrones fan and this all started with me blatantly getting my Game of Thrones fix while I impatiently wait for the the sixth season to start in April, or George RR Martin to (finally) finish next book installment of the series The Winds of Winter, but I had some useful musings from it.

Live Streaming Council Committee meetings – How we helped Birmingham City Council Billesley Ward Committee get online.

I’ve mentioned about how we’ve worked in South Birmingham in conjunction with the South Birmingham Community Safety Partnership when we wrote about what Austin Rodriguez , South Birmingham Safer Places officer had to say about the project.

What I haven’t said yet is that we’ve been working on a second phase of the surgeries with him.

Austin has been doing a great thing empowering the people he works with to use social media to talk to each other, to improve where they live and  to  build a stronger communities and with him we’ve continued to build on the momentum from phase one of the project.

In February we were holding a surgery in Bartley Green that  Alex Buchanan  – Ward Councillor of Billesley – attended. He came along with Austin with the idea that he’d like to trial live streaming his ward committee meeting .  Birmingham City Council have been live streaming their meetings from the council house and he wanted to see how he could make that work locally.

The Technology

Out in the community centres and church halls where community meetings are usually held there isn’t the infrastructure the council have  – there isn’t high speed Wi-Fi or  high definition webcams and high quality controlled audio. Nor is there a bespoke website to send the feed to,  so we had to look at what was available. 

Councillor Buchanan had invested in a laptop with a webcam and a decent microphone so we decided Google Hangouts would be the way to go, using the On Air function to stream to Youtube, which also meant it could be shared via other platforms and embedded into blogs – We spent about an hour looking at how this could work for them and then on the 20th February they put it into action.

Some observations – Be brave.

You can see in the video above that while the camera was positioned in such a way that the whole top table could be seen – the microphone struggled to pick everyone up. As the people farthest away from the set up took their turn to speak at times the audio wasn’t very clear at all but then they weren’t using a multi-directional mic that can pick everyone up like at the council house. What they had was a small mic plugged into a laptop  –  but  it could have been moved to pick up more voices.

This seems obvious watching it back but again it comes back to the fact this was a trial and a learning experience. What it needs next is just a bit of bravery, Bravery to do it again and to take what they’ve learned doing this and apply it. If during the meeting they were willing to pause proceedings by just a few seconds to re-position the mic before people took their turn to talk this would greatly improve the quality of the audio, make better use of the technology they have available and improve the experience for the community watching.

In saying that though it is fantastic that Councillors are looking at ways to open up the local democratic process to more people, and live streaming of meetings is definitely a good way to go. The fact that Councillor Buchanan was willing to even consider giving this a try is fantastic and who knows what could be next? What other public conversations could take place in – well – public?  

Hello birminghamnewsroom.com and congratulations

Birmingham News Room header
Birmingham News Room header

After a brief consultation process and suggestions  from a number of folk, including this lengthy burble from me, Birmingham City Council has launched birminghamnewsroom.com.

It’s a wordpress based site for their news service to the public and press and  describes itself as

…your first stop for all the news from Europe’s largest local authority.

The aim is to improve our news delivery, so we want the newsroom to be a useful resource for both journalists and members of the general public.

Last rites to the press release?

Deborah Harries, head of news at the council, blogged about where they are at:

The press office at Birmingham City Council has moved into the 21st century and after months of hard work we’ve finally launched our online newsroom. This is an exciting development for my team and hopefully this site will prove to be a useful resource for journalists, bloggers and residents.

We haven’t quite read the last rites to the press release but the world of media relations is changing. (my emphasis)

People consume news in many different ways now and we’re keen to reach a wider audience through the burgeoning and exciting range of social networking tools available. Don’t get me wrong, this is far from the finished article and we’re looking for your views to help further develop the service.

Included is:

A dedicated Youtube Channel, managed partly through vodpod, with straightforward self made content like this:

There is a series of photos in their self hosted gallery (I’d like to be able to link to and use these images) and the twitter account, which popped up a while ago. Plus the all important RSS feed(s?) and it’s good to see comments enabled on individual blog posts/news items.  I imagine trackback is too?

What do I think?

I think it’s wonderful. I’ve got a head full of things that could be done next or perhaps a litle differently, but they can wait.  It’s through using social media that you get good at it and here the council has created a wonderful place for doing just that.

Congratulations to Geoff Coleman, who’s been nursing this for some months, and Deborah Harries for just getting on with it.

(Declaration – from time to time I get paid by Birmingham City Council – not for this though!)