Thursday, October 6th, 2016 | 9 min read
Earlier this year, a mom, a Chewbacca mask, and a contagious laugh came together to make the most-watched Facebook Live video to hit the social network. Candace Payne’s wacky and spontaneous livestream earned her over 160 million views and 3.3 million shares – and the love of “Star Wars” fans across the world.
While her newfound fame has brought her brand deals and advertising opportunities, it’s safe to say she wasn’t too concerned about metrics when she first posted her live video. Sure, it’d be nice to approach content creation with the same carefree attitude, but marketers have money (and careers) on the line, so it’s crucial that they have a plan for measuring success.
In fact, tracking the performance of your Facebook Live video through metrics – and developing a data-driven strategy for future videos – is one of the most important things you can do to attract followers for your brand, boost engagement, and get your customers to take action.
In Part 1 of our guide to Facebook Live, we outlined everything you need to know in order to plan a successful livestream. In Part 2, we unpacked the anatomy of a hit Live video. Now, we’ll take a close look at Facebook Live analytics so that you can fully understand how your videos perform and how to optimize going forward.
After you’re done broadcasting, your Live video will remain on your Facebook Page (unless you choose to delete it). At this point, you’ll not only have an opportunity to keep driving engagements through your content, but you’ll also be able to look back on metrics to see how your Live video performed throughout the broadcast.
You can then periodically review metrics for the on-demand version of the video to see how it fares over time.
Facebook offers a wide array of metrics to measure the success of your live and on-demand videos – let’s focus on five that are especially useful, plus how they can help you optimize your livestreaming strategy. Brands can access reporting for each live video through the Page Insights section and the Video Library of their Facebook Page. Once you click on the title of a video, a pop-up box will appear with all the metrics pertaining to that video.
This is the highest number of viewers who watched the video while it was live. For instance, maybe you had 100,000 views overall, but your greatest concentration of them happened at the 15-minute mark –– your Peak Live Viewers is the number of people watching your video at that point. Facebook also provides a graph that shows the total number of viewers during each moment of the live broadcast.
Looking at Peak Live Viewers can reveal a couple insights: First, it can help you understand what part of your content was most compelling for viewers and how long you held their attention before they got restless. If you notice that your viewer count tends to peak around the same time during all of your broadcasts, you can also assume that this is when your live content is most visible in your audience’s feeds.
Video Views is the total number of people who watched three seconds or more of your video. In addition to an aggregate total of Video Views since the broadcast took place, Facebook provides a graph that shows Video Views on a daily basis (it shows data for every third day – July 5th, July 8th, July 11th, and so on).
While the aggregate metric includes views that happened during the livestream and views that took place once it was converted to an on-demand video, it’s not possible to separate live views from views of the on-demand video. Therefore, this metric is most useful to see how many people have watched your video since it was published and how the daily volume of viewers has shifted over time.
This metric shows what percentage of your video is viewed during an average watch session. If you click on this metric, you can drill down to see Audience Retention: A visual representation of views of the video at each moment (as a percentage of all views). When considered alongside Peak Live Viewers, the Average % Completion graph is helpful for understanding how engaged your audience is with your content throughout your broadcast.
But here’s where things get really interesting: Just below the graph there’s an option to view completion rates for auto plays versus people who actually clicked to play. As expected, while the total number of auto plays is usually higher than the number of people who actually clicked on the video to play it, the completion rate for click-to-plays tends to be much higher.
Facebook launched Reactions worldwide in February of this year, allowing people to react to content with a Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry emoticon. We’ve talked about why marketers should include Reactions in their social analytics strategy, and luckily, Facebook also offers the ability to measure how viewers used the Reactions emoticons throughout a live broadcast.
Under the Video Engagement tab, you can see the magnitude of Reactions from each point in your video, including a view for the six possible Reactions lumped together or a filtered view for each Reaction type. This can be a helpful way to gauge whether or not your content is having the desired effect on your audience –– does it make them laugh, feel frustrated, or feel awe?
Last but not least, Facebook offers useful information about your live video’s audience demographics, including Top Audience and Top Location. Top Audience tells you the gender and age range of the majority of your live video viewers, and Top Location reveals where viewers were watching from.
You can even see which gender watches for longer and break down viewer location by state.
In just the past couple of years, online video has gone from a fringe strategy to a cornerstone of digital marketing, and its impact is only expected to grow. By 2017, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic, according to predictions from Cisco.
Facebook’s own investment in livestreaming indicates that the social network sees this technology as the way forward. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Mark Zuckerberg called Live “the beginning of something special” and predicted that video would become a bigger part of how people make stronger social media connections.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video,” he said.
By using Facebook Live, marketers have a unique opportunity to grow their businesses, especially given Facebook’s built-in audience of over 1.7 billion users. Brands that host livestreams stand a better chance of creating a more intimate connection with their followers and sparking lasting relationships that carry from live video to on-demand content and back again – to whatever might come next.