Both Facebook and YouTube allow you to dig into the metrics on your video views to understand your online audience. In this article, we’ll help you figure out which metrics matter when it comes to video views. But there is a lot more to unpack to really understand how your digital church is performing.

What Counts as a Video View?

Well, it depends on who you ask, and that’s why counting views gets tricky from the start. By Facebook definition, a video view is 3 seconds. This includes users who engage at any point in time of the video and remain engaged for 3 seconds or longer. Views on Facebook can count when a video runs in the user’s stream. You’ll recognise these as the ones you scroll past quickly that trigger an involuntary reaction because of the sudden noise (or maybe that’s just me). 

YouTube has slightly different criteria. A viewer must initiate (click) the link and remain on the video for at least 30 seconds.  

But it is not just video views you want to measure – there are other related metrics that help paint a clearer picture of your digital church experience.

Is a Video View Just 1-1? What About Families and Roommates?

The idea of the online multiplier is that your congregation members do not live in isolation but may be part of a family or community unit. In person, you would count each individual separately, but online this is harder to gauge.

We suggest one of the following three options:

  • Many churches use the 1.7 standard multiplier, which you could use for your count. (So if you have 30 video views, you can estimate 51 attendees)
  • Survey your attendees to get a more precise number for your church to see how many take part in your services as a family and how many family members view together. For example, you survey 1,000 members and discover you have an additional 100 attendees viewing together you can use this 1.1 multiplier as a standard for your congregation. 
  • Opt to err on the conservative side and not use a multiplier

Unpacking the Metrics to Count Video Views as Attendees

Unpacking the metrics around video viewsThere are three primary metrics Facebook offers to consider in a head-count. 3-second views, 10-second views, and 1+ minute views.

Next, there are secondary metrics to pay attention to. These measure the average time a person spends on a video. How, and if, they engage with the video.

With so many metrics, it can be difficult to determine the best one to choose for attendance counting. 

According to most online communities we’ve read through, church leaders are leaning into the 1+ minute when they start the attendee count. This is your base number of unique viewers for each video on Facebook that you can use alone or with a multiplier. 

Determine Your Path and Set Benchmarks

What is more important for your measurement is determining a consistent path. 

Here are the metrics that might help you begin to chart the story of what’s happening online.

  • Number of 1-minute views on Facebook. Eliminate the 3 and 10-second watch so as not to count against people who randomly scrolled into you and left.
  • Use the Views number YouTube lists. This won’t be an exact 1-1 with Facebook but it is more comparable.
  • Average Watch Time. Track how long your services are engaging your audience to get a better sense of how long you should time your services.
  • Audience Retention. This is an important number to watch to see not just how many unique attendees you have because this shows you how effectively you are engaging those attendees. 

Other metrics to help benchmark your engagement include:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Subscribes
  • Decisions (if you offer responses on these)
  • Donations

We suggest you select 2-3 of the above to measure as your key metrics to track your engagement and give you a better sense of your impact rather than just the reach of your message. 

If you are using Faith Online, you don’t need to do as much manual tracking. Our platform keeps a list of total live attendees across your stream sources, including your phone streams, for each event you host.

Track your attendees on your live streams including phone lines

While the attendance is an important measurement tool for your church, engagement is how you build community. Over the next few articles we will share some tips to better understand your social metrics so you can use this data to plan for a better experience online.