As of July 2015, Facebook has made a dozen major updates to its News Feed algorithm — six in June alone. That’s more than twice as many as the social giant made in all of 2014. Along with adding support for GIFs and a Buy button for Shopify merchants, Facebook tweaked its algorithm to show some users more of what they want to see: videos.
It’s clear that Facebook is making its native video functionality and News Feed reach a high priority. Earlier this year, the company overhauled the video tab options available for Pageswith a new layout. And, in June, a new video analytics dashboard was announced.
Now, videos will carry even more weight in the ever-changing News Feed algorithm. In its never-ending quest to perfectly personalize every user’s experience, Facebook has begun measuring how users interact (or don’t) with videos in their News Feeds. And with insights garnered from viewership data, Facebook is poised to go head-to-head with other video platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.
As Facebook continues to dive into the world of video, marketers should pay close attention. The old standby engagement metrics (e.g., Likes, comments and shares) are no longer the only measurements Facebook is watching. The company recently announced that other actions taken on videos will affect their presence in a user’s New Feed.
“We have learned that certain actions people take on a video, such as choosing to turn on sound or making the video full screen, are good signs they wanted to see that video, even if they didn’t want to Like it,” Facebook engineers said in a June 29 blog post.
This update comes shortly after Facebook announced that it will consider the time users spend on videos in its efforts to improve the News Feed. In other words, people who watch more videos in their News Feeds will probably see more videos in their News Feeds. And conversely, people who don’t watch many videos won’t see as many.
Factoring these more passive actions into the algorithm ensures that content in the News Feed will continue to be relevant and interesting to each user. While this change is set to take place over the next few weeks, Facebook doesn’t expect pages to see significant changes as a result.
So what does this most recent algorithm update mean for your video posts? To increase your reach and presence in News Feeds, videos must quickly capture a user’s attention and hold their interest long enough to persuade them to not only spend time viewing it, but to do so with the sound on, in full-screen, or in HD.
According to Facebook, videos that meet these requirements will get more News Feed visibility overall, and similar video content will be served to the user.
This social platform has the audience, the technical capability and the data-based targeting for competitive video marketing. Brands can’t afford to miss out on the 4 billion videos views happening each day. If video isn’t part of your content strategy, it should be.