Putting Apple's 20 Million Facebook Video Ad Views into Perspective

Last night I was surfing my Facebook News Feed, and up came Apple's recently released holiday commercial, "The Song." Facebook had it on muted autoplay. A screenshot is included:

The commercial has received 20.7 million total views. Last night around 9:00PM ET the video had around 18M views and was averaging nearly 1.3M views an hour. It would appear that it was showing up on News Feeds up until 11PM ET judging by the frequency and timing of new comments. Along with 20M+ views, the video has 210,000 likes and 8,800 comments, most of them positive (see Exhibit 1), so the engagement was definitely there despite the video being on autoplay. 

Exhibit 1: Comments Posted to Apple's Facebook Ad

At 20 million views, I was curious how that compared to Apple's typical advertisement venue; television (the video has 2.4 million views on YouTube where it doesn't seem like it has been part of a YouTube advertisement campaign). While an apples-to-apples comparsion would be tough, I looked at viewership data for Tuesday night's network TV lineup. 

Exhibit 2: U.S. Network Television Viewer Data - Top Shows - December 16, 2014

The obvious caveat is that viewer data for the networks includes both live and same day (DVR usage up until 3AM the following morning), while I can only estimate when the Apple ad first appeared on my News Feed. I'm sure there are additional subtleties that matter to marketers, such as 18-49 share, but the takeaway is clear: Facebook video ads matter. With a daily reach roughly on the same scale as prime time network television, not to mention all of the viewer interaction and targeted campaign possibilities, I expect to see future Apple video ads in my Facebook News Feed.