Science Of Sharing 2015: Thursdays Are The New Wednesdays

Things certainly change quickly in online video advertising. Just two years ago, YouTube accounted for almost a half of all video views worldwide, a six-second video was deemed way too short and Wednesday was the best day of the week to launch a video campaign.

Fast forward to now and the picture has changed drastically. YouTube’s share has shrunk to almost 20%, Vines are watched by millions every day and Thursday has replaced Hump Day as the optimum day to release your video campaign.

That’s right, according to our latest Science of Sharing white paper, which was released earlier this month, Thursday is the new Wednesday. At least for any campaign which uses the Facebook and YouTube video formats anyway.

Let me explain. Back in 2013, Wednesday was the best day to launch a campaign based on two key factors. Firstly, on average, half (48.3%) of YouTube weekly video shares occurred between Wednesday and Friday, with the peak of shares occurring on a Friday and the lowest point being the weekend. Secondly, a quarter of a video’s total shares on average occurred during the first three days of launch. 

Why are we talking about shares rather than views? Well, firstly, views can be purchased while shares have to be earned, making it a true measure of deep engagement. Secondly, shares are e-word of mouth, making them the most trusted form of advertising. And thirdly, people who watch a video that was shared with them are far more likely to act after watching a branded video

So what’s changed since 2013? Well, since then, while Wednesday to Friday still remains the peak time for sharing (see below), the speed of sharing for branded videos has accelerated significantly.

Sharing

So much so, the percentage of its total shares an average branded video on YouTube now attracts in its first three days has almost doubled from 22% in 2013 to 43.8%.

But if you think that’s fast, guess again. The arrival of Facebook as a serious player in the online video market has made the importance of the first two days of a online video’s life even more crucial.

On average Facebook videos burn out and fade a lot more quickly than YouTube ads – twice as fast, in fact (see below).

Social Diffusion Curve

A staggering 85.6% of a Facebook video’s total shares occur in the first three days. Like YouTube videos, which attract the most shares the day after launch (29.9%), Facebook videos also peak on the second day at 40.6%. As you can see from the chart below, it then drops off significantly.

Optimum Launch

It means that when running a video campaign on Facebook’s player or across both Facebook and YouTube (see below), the first two days are absolutely crucial.

Launch Day

But which are the two cumulative days of the week when the most shares of branded videos on YouTube and Facebook occur? Well, as you can see from the chart below, it’s Thursday.

Thursday

So by launching your video campaign on a Thursday you are giving it the best possible chance.

But what if you just have a YouTube video? Well, as you can see from the chart below, YouTube videos do not suffer quite the same explosive burnout as Facebook ads do.  

3 Days

The shares do no tail off significantly till after the third day. The decrease in sharing activity is also a lot less dramatic, likely due to the fact that YouTube is primarily used as a search engine as opposed to a social network.

So what does that mean? Well, back near the start, to be honest, looking at the three consecutive days where the shares occur – Wednesday to Friday (see below).

Launch on Wednesday

So put very simply, if you are launching a video on Facebook or both Facebook and YouTube, your best possible chance of attracting the most shares is by launching it on a Thursday. If it’s just YouTube, go for Wednesday.

To download the white paper below.