With Twitter displaying view counts publicly, much like YouTube has been doing from the beginning, figuring out what counts as a view on the various social media platforms has become even more confusing.
Twitter will include both organic and paid views in a video’s view count. This is what Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube already do, so that part doesn’t complicate anything further. By showing the audience how many views a video has received, Twitter is probably hoping that advertisers will have added incentive to promote videos as ads, so that more people see the video and share it.
The part that gets complicated is that all the different social media platforms use different metrics to determine what counts as a view. Snapchat only requires a Snap to be opened for it to count as a view. For a video to get a view on Twitter, it must have 50 percent in view and play for at least two seconds. On Facebook and Instagram, the video must play for at least 3 seconds. YouTube requires a viewer to watch a video for the longest amount of time, 30 seconds, before it will count as a view.
Because the amount of time is so small, it’s up to each individual company to determine whether view count is an accurate of people’s interest in their videos. Until each social media platform makes clear why they count a view and why a video only seen for two seconds is relevant to publishers and advertisers, no one’s going to be able to make heads or tails of the video viewing information available from the major social media players. Right now, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are not giving their advertisers enough useful information to work with and use to make decisions about what content works.