the answer is video 4

But that’s not what most church marketers think. Read more to find out why.

Is A Facebook Video View Really Engagement?

I work with a lot church leaders and their teams. In every conversation some sort of digital or social engagement discussion comes up.  This is a problem that everyone is seeking to tackle; how do I connect with my congregation online? How do I make sure that my sermons are being viewed? How do I know if they’re watching.

Enter Facebook.

They make it SUPER EASY to advertise.  Just “boost” that post for only $10.  Reach people who are friends of people who like your page. . hey that’s kind of like asking a member of your church to invite a friend, right? Hmmmm, maybe, but not really.

Church marketers are told to advertise on Facebook.  They’re told to post frequently, engage their key leaders, go live with videos and boost their posts.

And this can create a mess.

Because as EASY as it is to advertise on Facebook it is so much EASIER to spend money on their platform. That’s right, the biggest technology that Facebook provides for its advertising partners is the ability to spend. It’s the ability to feel good about your spend too. And that keeps you coming back.

Which leads me to the most misunderstood digital metric in the marketplace today; the Facebook video view.

What You Probably Think A Facebook Video View Is

Here’s what most church leaders think a Facebook video view is: SOMEBODY WATCHED MY VIDEO! All of it, right. So that Sunday morning sermon that you told all of your leaders to share out got 1,000 views, and that’s like getting 1,000 people to attend church this weekend isn’t it? Please, isn’t it?! Please, please, tell me that’s what it is. Because that’s what I’m telling my leadership. And my volunteers. And my other ministry peers, and my mentors.  It’s in my church wide email.  It’s in my team meeting as the metric that matters the most.

It’s wrong.

It’s nothing like what you think it is.


What A Facebook Video View ACTUALLY Is

A Facebook video view counts when 50% of the video shows up in the news feed for 3 seconds.  Try this.  Go to Facebook and find a video. Scroll down slowly and watch when the video starts playing. . .that’s a view. 50% of the video has to be in view for the player to activate and play the video.

You already see the problem, right?

1,000 people scrolled through their news feed on Facebook and 50% of your video was in their view as they scrolled.  It played and they kept scrolling.  That’s one view! Woohooo.

Now,  a quick note about the definition above.  You see, Facebook doesn’t actually tell you that only 50% of the video needs to be on the screen, but if you followed the exercise above you’ll know that the video can still play with only 50% of the video in view.

This is the equivalent of somebody driving by your church and seeing that you have a sign out front.

It’s nothing close to engagement. 

This is a Facebook Video View


Yes This.

But isn’t it cut off. . .yep – only 50% needs to be visible for the video to play.











Don’t worry, we’re going to help you define video engagement on Facebook.

Just keep reading. . . 

What Should I Be Measuring on Facebook?

The good news is that you can still measure video views on Facebook in a meaningful way.  You just have to know what to look for, AND you have to determine for yourself how it matters.

Because Facebook knows that 3-second video views are a flawed metric, they also report on other meaningful video metrics such as 10-second views, 1-minute video views, and total engagement.

Get your calculators out because this is where we’re going to do some simple math to help you figure out just how engaged your audience really was with your video content.

About 10 Second Video Views

The major flaw with video views is that you really have no idea if they actually saw your video and considered watching it, or if they were just scrolling through their news feed slowly and reading adjacent content (which then triggered the video to play).

To solve this problem, Facebook will report on the number of videos where the user made it to 10 seconds of watch time.  The thought process with this metric is that this is actual consideration. But again there’s a problem here because the user could be reading adjacent content.

And that’s the danger in valuing this particular metric because it still doesn’t indicate that the video was actually watched, or that the engagement was deeper than surface level.


The Breaking Point: 1 Minute Views – This is where engagement starts.

The next metric is 1-minute video views.  And this is where we can actually start determining audience engagement.  At 1 minute of watch time, we’ve captured the audience’s attention and we’ve eliminated the possibility of the audience reading adjacent content without engaging with our video.

This is also a great place to start looking at the relationship between this metric and minutes viewed (total watch time).

In today’s online church environment, we’re often left guessing about the number of people who watched, and more importantly the number of SCREENS (devices) that watched.  A smartTV could easily have a whole family watching your content, or a small group, or a micro-service/house church/watch party, and etc.

I use the count of 1-minute video views as a benchmark to compare performance between videos, and a loose way of communicating the number of screens that watched. Take another look at that top chart and you’ll see why I think video 4 performed best.


Final Thought: Minutes Viewed and Average Video Watch Time

Finally, to really gauge how engaged your audience was with your content, you’ll need to spend some time looking at the total minutes viewed and the average video watch time.  Facebook’s calculation is based on the minutes watched divided by the number of 3-second video views.  Keep in mind that on lengthier content, you should see a higher average video watch time. . that is if people are watching the whole thing.

If you have a high 3-second video count and a low average watch time with a longer piece of content, then you can absolutely determine that you’re being ineffective in engaging your audience.

Take a look at the examples at the top of the page again. . . the video with the most views, the most 10 second views, and the most 1 minute views was video 1.  And nearly every single organization I talk to will proudly point this out as a success story.

But look a bit closer. That’s a 44-minute video, which an average watch time of 21 seconds. Ouch.

Take another look at video 4.  2300 less 3-second views, but only 30 less one-minute views, and an average watch time of 1:04.


The Facebook Video Engagement Winner

In video 1, a huge number of people we reached their news feed.  They scrolled past the video.  Worse than that though? Half of the audience had the video in view for 10 seconds while reading adjacent content.  But only 10% of those people decided to stick around. What’s to blame? It’s either the content or the audience targeting (more on that in a later post).

Video 4 on the other hand had 60 live viewers who were excited about their content.  They attracted a crowd and that crowd watched live and had a longer shelf life. And best of all they didn’t have to pay for the engagement.