Gorman said in a session during Advertising Week that one of Snap’s Originals, a reality show called Endless Summer, was watched by 28 million people, according to CNBC. In comparison, a record-breaking 19.3 million people tuned in for the final episode of Game of Thrones in May. Endless Summer stars YouTube star Summer Mckeen’s life in Laguna Beach, California.
Here’s the catch though: a spokesperson from Snapchat told CNBC that the company counts a view as when someone opens the video in the app. So, if the video was watched for five seconds or one minute, it still counts as a view, meaning that in reality, the 28 million views Endless Summer garnered weren’t the same as those who and paid attention during the entire 80-minute finale of Game of Thrones.
Endless Summer had 12 episodes in its first season on Snapchat, and every episode was just a few minutes in length.
This all comes down to the way social media platforms measure engagement — and try to sell views to advertisers. Social media platforms often make far-fetched claims like this when it comes to how many people “view” content. Facebook reportedly gets 8 billion video views per day, but again, the social media giant counts when a video is played for at least three seconds as a view. If you’re on desktop, the video has to be 100% on the screen for it to count, and on mobile, it has to be on 50% of the screen.
Facebook’s autoplay feature helps with these statistics, too. You can scroll past a video on your News Feed, and it will automatically start playing, possibly counting its play as a view from you.
A video that autoplays as you scroll through your feed — but one you may only glance at or ignore altogether before you scroll away — counts as a “view” for both Snapchat and Facebook. If these companies can inflate their view numbers, they can sell more ads — whether viewers are actually paying attention or not.
We’ve reached out to Snap about their claim that Endless Summer is bigger than Thrones and will update this story if we hear back.
Snapchat comparing its original video content to Game of Thrones is interesting, though, since more and more social media platforms are creating shows to get a leg in the video streaming market. Aside from Endless Summer, Snap Originals also include Everything’s Fine, a new scripted series produced by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Tekashi69 VS The World, produced by Complex.
Facebook Watch original content includes Red Table Talk Show, Kerry Washington’s drama, Five Points, and even a Real World reboot.