facebook video
Facebook updated its Page feature to show more statistics on how videos perform, the company announced Thursday. Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Facebook is finally helping publishers understand when their videos are grabbing the most attention. The Page Insights on the social network will enable publishers to see day-by-day breakdowns for minutes viewed, total views (three seconds each) and 10-second views, according to a company update Thursday. Think of it as akin to Nielsen ratings, not for television but for Facebook.

The ability to see a breakdown of views by day was one of the features most frequently requested by publishers, Facebook reported. The company indicated it hopes this addition will help publishers build their video audiences on the social media site.

“This new data gives Page owners a better understanding of when their audiences are watching their videos, providing a more detailed picture of performance,” Anaid Gomez-Ortigoza, a Facebook product manager, wrote in a blog post about the update.

This move is one of several steps Facebook has taken to improve its video-publishing environment in recent months. In February, the company released new metrics, including the total minutes of watch time and the number of views that last more than 10 seconds. Total watch time, as in consecutive minutes watching, was among the features most requested by publishers.

Facebook has been touting its dominance as a video player. People are watching 100 million hours of video on the social network each day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said while delivering the company’s fourth-quarter financial report in January.

Facebook boasts 8 billion video views per day. That is the same aggregate number as booked by the mobile application Snapchat, but views are not equivalent at the two. Facebook views count after three seconds, while Snapchat views reportedly count after milliseconds.

Recently, publishers have been experimenting with Facebook Live, the company’s real-time broadcasting option. Some publishers are garnering more than 100,000 live views. For example, Mashable attracted more than 2.3 million views with eight videos by using Facebook Live this month.

Even so, Facebook has come under scrutiny over its metrics. Hank Green, a star on YouTube and a co-creator of the annual VidCon conference, published a Medium blog post, titled “Theft, Lies and Facebook Video,” that claimed Facebook’s three-second view devalued the content. Green also contended that the company needed to better address freebooting, which refers to a user that first downloads and then uploads somebody else’s content.

“We’re listening to feedback and will continue to improve the video metrics we offer to Page owners,” Gomez-Ortigoza wrote in his blog post on behalf of Facebook.