Facebook analyticsWith the announcement that Facebook is expanding their video analytics offering, it’s no secret that Facebook is trying to take on YouTube as a video content network. The total number of views will now be displayed on videos posted from both people and Pages, and marketers will have access to some analytics to help determine how well their video content is performing.

This comes hot on the heels of Facebook’s acquisition of LiveRail, a video platform that supports the social site’s aggressive move towards video advertising. While this is exciting news for marketers, it should be taken with a hint of caution.

Video Goes Social

Facebook has seen a massive rise in videos posted in the past few months, admittedly spurred on by the Ice Bucket Challenge. While the public view counts provide a great ego boost to those on Facebook, the advanced analytics that Facebook is rolling out are really targeted towards brands. Being able to track viewer metrics on which community members are engaging with video, and adding calls-to-action to the end of videos are tools designed directly with marketers in mind.

As Facebook’s audience has grown to over 1 billion accounts worldwide, we’ve also seen a recent overhaul, with Facebook playing videos in your newsfeed automatically.

But what does this all amount to?

With all of these added features, hosting video on Facebook may seem like the golden ticket to optimizing engagement and driving traffic to your website, but all of this must be taken with some caution for marketers.

First off, Facebook’s new features are somewhat limited.

The analytics don’t work on videos hosted through 3rd party video hosting tools, so brands will have to upload their videos directly to Facebook. This means companies using YouTube to build their subscriber base will now have to upload their content to yet another network rather than simply sharing the YouTube link to their Facebook feed. Since YouTube videos will still play in-line in Facebook (and other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn) brands that have a large presence on YouTube are better off continuing to host their content there rather than trying to aggregate data from yet another channel.

Public videos uploaded to Facebook are also subject to their Statements of Rights and Responsibilities, which are quite explicit in how Facebook may use your content:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

This means that Facebook can use your public content in their own advertising. This has produced some controversial results when applied to personal profiles, and there’s nothing stopping Facebook from adapting their strategy to include branded content as well.

The Bottom Line for Marketers

AnalyticsWhile Facebook’s updates to their video options are useful, the requirement that videos be uploaded directly to Facebook makes it difficult for marketers to control the fate of their video assets. Additionally, unlike leading-edge video marketing platforms, Facebook offers no opportunity to connect these analytics to marketing automation platforms or CRM systems like Salesforce.com. In short, this means that while you’re collecting data on a disconnected channel, it’s not especially actionable as it doesn’t feed directly into your marketing tools or systems per lead.

For brands that are serious about building their video audience, having control over where videos are displayed and being able to track video analytics outside of Facebook are important.

Modern Video Marketing platforms allow brands to syndicate their content to YouTube, and play videos in-line on Facebook (among other social networks).The analytics tracked through a video marketing platform won’t show up in a Facebook dashboard, but rather, directly in the marketing systems you are already using. A video marketing platform is one powerful location from which to not only publish you content and optimize its performance, but also to measure and track it’s syndication and the analytics collected across channels. It simply makes more sense to consolidate all of your marketing data where it’s most actionable and useful, and despite Facebook’s updates, that’s still within a video marketing platform.

The foray into deeper Facebook video metrics is a win for companies that are already aggressively using Facebook as a content syndication channel, but modern marketers should be cautious about fragmenting their analytics (and their audience) to yet another channel.

Jon Spenceley