When you're developing your social media video campaigns, it’s important to remember that no two platforms are alike. Not only are the types of videos you see on these platforms different, but on an analytical basis, what counts as a view can be drastically different in each of them. For instance, on Facebook, what constitutes as a view is when someone sees three seconds of a video ad whereas on YouTube it is 30 seconds. Why should you care, though? A view is a view, right? Yes and no.

It’s relevant to be aware of this information because it affects the ROI of your advertising campaign. Since most social media platforms charge on a per-view basis for video ad placement, someone watching three seconds of your ad versus 30 seconds can mean a world of difference in the end-cost of running your campaign.

Hence, it is critical to know how the different social media platforms track views. It can save you time, money and most importantly, help your ads reach the largest and most relevant audience possible.

What counts as a video view in each social media platform

We designed a guide to help you understand and compare how different social media platforms measure video views.

We explain what counts as a view on each platform, what is the maximum video length allowed in each of them and if they offer tools such as auto-play (which means your videos are going to start playing automatically when the user comes across the ad in the platform) and auto-loop (an auto-repeat function).

Plus, we also explain how each social media platform approaches audio (are videos muted or on by default?) and how ad prices are calculated.

Facebook

Since Facebook is a one-size-fits-all social media platform, videos are just another trinket in their repertoire of media content. The allure for advertisers is that Facebook is still the most popular social media across all demographics.

What counts as a view?

When someone sees the first three seconds of a video of any length

Video maximum length

45 minutes

Auto-Play?

Yes

Auto-Loop?

No

Default audio

Mute

How ad prices are calculated?

Advertisers set a maximum bid that they are willing to pay for ad space on the site

Instagram

Instagram is an entirely visual social media. It’s all about the aesthetics as the platform allows users to share visual content with one another in an easy and straightforward way. As such, videos play an enormous role on the site, offering a significant opportunity for video advertising.

What counts as a view?

When someone sees the first three seconds of a video of any length

Video maximum length

60 seconds

Auto-Play?

Yes

Auto-Loop?

Yes

Default audio

Mute

How ad prices are calculated?

Advertisers set a maximum bid that they are willing to pay for ad space on the app.

Twitter

Although the short brief text updates are still the most popular feature among users, Twitter has been investing heavily in video, especially on live streaming. This year, the company announced a deal to stream NFL games on the platform and it will keep investing in its video capabilities in the next years.

What counts as a view?

When someone sees the first three seconds of a video of any length, but that video must be 100% within a user’s view for that time

Video maximum length

2 minutes and 20 seconds

Auto-Play?

Yes

Auto-Loop?

No

Default audio

Mute

How ad prices are calculated?

Advertisers set a maximum bid that they are willing to pay for ad space on the site.

Pinterest

Pinterest video advertising is still a new feature that launched only a few months ago. Users have been able to embed videos into Pinterest for awhile, but this is the first time brands can do direct video advertising on the site.

What counts as a view?

When someone views the first three seconds of a video of any length.

Video maximum length

5 minutes

Auto-Play?

No

Auto-Loop?

No

Default audio

Audio on

How ad prices are calculated?

Advertisers set a maximum bid that they are willing to pay for ad space on the site. Pinterest charges for video impressions.

YouTube

YouTube is the premiere video social media platform. Unlike Instagram which has an emphasis on sharing all visual content, YouTube is specifically focused on videos. While you can advertise with videos on YouTube, it is also important to remember that you can share YouTube videos or embed them in other platforms, like LinkedIn. The advertising potential of YouTube is not exclusive to the site.

What counts as a view?

When someone sees 30 seconds of a video or less, if the video is shorter than 30 seconds.

Video maximum length

For unverified accounts, the default limit is 15 minutes. For accounts that are verified, users can upload a video up to 12 hours in length.

Auto-Play?

Yes

Auto-Loop?

No

Default audio

Audio on

How ad prices are calculated?

Advertisers set a maximum bid that they are willing to pay for ad space on the site

Get into action

Now that you have an idea about how social media platforms measure video, you may want to rethink or improve your video advertising strategy. Thankfully, there is a multitude of ways that you can improve the effectiveness of your video ads.

Knowing how the different social media platforms treat video views is a great first step to help you create a winning approach to video advertising.

Ligia Aguilhar

Ligia Aguilhar

Ligia Aguilhar is a Content Specialist at Strike Social and holds an MS from Medill. She was born in Brazil and has traveled the world, from Silicon Valley to Seoul, to cover tech.