Video streaming numbers reported by Nielsen on Facebook have been devastated after a change in the way they are measured in the wake of a misreporting scandal that happened last year, with streams plummeting 94%.
Last year the digital industry was rocked when it was revealed Facebook had vastly overestimated its video views based on the admission that segments of videos were being measured as separate streams rather than one stream.
Facebook had changed the way it delivered video streams from a single stream to a packet of streams, designed to improve user experience, however Neilsen was counting each segment delivered as a separate stream, creating higher numbers which then forced Neilsen to change the way they measured streams on Facebook in order to correctly report on views.
The new numbers now reveal that the widespread belief that Facebook had overtaken YouTube as the video platform of choice may never have been correct.
During 2016 Neilsen was measuring Facebook streams of 8.6 billion in July, 12.506 billion in August and 9.94 billion September. Now, with the new measurement system, the ‘actual’ numbers have dropped to just 560 million in October and 580 million in December.
Media buying agencies have reacted immediately to the changes with a decrease in Facebook targeted video spending of 32.4% while spending on YouTube has increased 11.9%.
Now that the gross over reporting has been revealed, we expect to see a call for improved measurement of online advertising, along with third party organisations involved in the measurement process. It also sparks the debate that traditional media such as TV, print and radio are not to be dismissed by online options such as Facebook.