As Facebook boasts more than one billion video views daily, it may come as surprise that 85 percent of Facebook users watch videos without sound.
While the social media platform switched to auto-play with sound in February of 2017, many users still prefer silent videos and publishers continue to produce short videos with flashy text and captions overlaid on images or brief clips.
Why Facebook users watch videos without sound
In a study performed by International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone users in the U.S. between 18 and 44-years-old check Facebook at least 14 times a day. The average Facebook user spends 35 minutes a day on the platform, allowing them approximately 2.5 minutes to check their newsfeed per browsing session; this may explain the popularity of silent videos with flashy text and images attempting to quickly grab attention and allow for easy consumption of information without sound.
According to MEC North America, key performance indicators for engagement, intent to purchase and brand lift weren’t affected by the viewer watching a video with or without sound. Despite these findings Facebook seems to be an anomaly in the world of social media and when comparing campaign performance for paid media, other platforms such as Youtube may prove to be more cost-effective.
Facebook often charges advertisers a higher price based on three-second or 10-second views, whereas Youtube allows advertisers to pay when users watch the entire ad. Because Facebook autoplays videos and counts a view after a video is played for longer than three seconds, Youtube and other platforms seem to be more cost effective for paid promotion.
Despite these statistics, publishers should be developing messaging and creative that appeal to specific audiences. While audio is necessary for producing engaging video content, 80 percent of people have negative reactions to mobile ads that play sound when they aren’t expecting it, reinforcing the process of producing silent creative for Facebook as a majority of its users watch videos without sound.