Video News: Facebook Ad Views Low, Vimeo Scraps Subscription Service

Last year’s biggest social media platform agenda was to push video. Large swaths of people are moving to internet video from TV, and video commercials make more money than text ads. But the actual opportunity was limited, and with every single service getting into video, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and GoPro, there was bound to be some fallout. Hey, we can’t all be Netflix.

The most recent news: Facebook’s video ads are getting as many views as Facebook wants you to think, YouTube Red isn’t that impressive, and premium video hosting service Vimeo isn’t launching a Netflix-style subscription service after all.

Facebook’s Ad Viewability Rate Might Be as Low as 20 Percent

Digiday reported today on the stats uncovered by the third-party auditors that Facebook recently allowed agencies to bring in audit the world’s biggest social platform. Turns out the auditors didn’t find the word’s biggest viewability counts.

The agencies, Digiday expains, “have been stunned to see viewability rates on Facebook video campaigns as low as 20 percent, going up to 30 percent, according to interviews with nine agency execs. That’s way below the average viewability rate for video ads on sites, which is approximately 50 percent, according to Integral Ad Science.”

The term “viewability” refers to how much of the video’s pixels are seen at a time: The industry standard requires “a minimum of 50 percent of a video ad’s pixels must be in view for two continuous seconds,” and Facebook’s billion of users tend to scroll past videos too quickly to even see the entire video player as often as 80 percent of the time.

YouTube Red Doesn’t Get Many Views Either

YouTube Red, YouTube’s premium subscription services, has one big problem: It need to convince a substantial number of the users on the biggest free video streaming service ever that they should start paying for a significantly smaller but more celebrity-packed version of the same thing. It’s not going great.

While YouTube Red has earned almost 250 million views on the original content it provides, that number is less impressive when to consider the numbers the free version is pulling in. Content and social media marketing consultant Simon Owens noted made that comparison in a recent newsletter, saying:

“250 million views might sound like a lot, but that’s only 350,000 views a day (when you stretch it out over the two years of YouTube Red’s existence). The free version of YouTube receives 5 billion views a day.”

Granted, YouTube Red still has plenty of years ahead, and with a funnel that large, it’s already beating most boutique video subscription services out there. Speaking of which…

Vimeo Has Scrapped Its Subscription Service

Vimeo, known to some as the YouTube for academic lectures and film class submissions, had planned a video subscription service first announced three years ago. Now, they’re changing their plans.

As one Vimeo PR rep broke the news to Recode: “Vimeo has confirmed that it has decided not to proceed in offering a subscription-based original program service scheduled to begin in ’18.”

Vimeo was hiring as recently as May 2017. This news in the video media sphere is certainly a dash of cold water, but given Facebook’s viewability woes and YouTube Red’s slow start, it may well be the best decision for Vimeo’s future.

Read more about video trends at Tech.Co 

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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