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New Facebook Video Algorithm Update

Facebook’s Third Major Algorithm Update Of 2019

Hot off the heels of News Feed algorithm updates in April and May, Facebook has announced an important update for video content.

The latest update is not a reinvention of the wheel, but rather a reweighting of existing video ranking factors, rolling out through the coming months, relating to:

  1. Loyalty and intent
  2. Video and viewing duration
  3. Originality

The new changes will affect video distribution across Facebook, including News Feed, Facebook Watch and its “More Videos” recommendations.

Facebook News Feed Updates Killed The Video Star?

Once the darling of social media marketing, organic video content on Facebook fell off a cliff, in terms of performance, from February 2018.

To be clear, while regular Facebook video dropped off, Live video has continued to perform well (on average), as have new video units like Watch Parties and Premieres.

Therefore, to say video has been down year on year is true; however, it is a somewhat nuanced statement.

Although video has struggled organically, video ads have boomed, so again, it is important not to confuse organic and paid video performance.

The latest algorithm updates could perhaps signify a shift in fortunes for struggling video creators?

Reweighting & Expansion Of Current Video Ranking Factors

As already noted, Facebook is essentially doubling down on existing ranking factors.

Skewing to favour criteria which is more indicative of quality videos from quality Facebook Pages.

The latest updates should go some way to further reducing the performance of viral or sensationalist content. It is also much harder to ‘hack’ since a page’s historical video performance will hold more sway.

  1. Loyalty and intent
    • Intent and repeat viewership are important factors Facebook considers when surfacing videos to people in News Feed. Going forward, it will add more weight in ranking to videos that people seek out and return to week after week
  2. Video and viewing duration
    • Facebook claims that it is essential that videos capture viewers’ attention for at least one minute
    • It will add more weight in ranking to videos that keep people engaged, especially on videos that are at least three minutes long
  3. Originality
    • Last year Facebook announced that it would limit distribution for unoriginal or repurposed content from other sources with limited or immaterial added value
    • While demoting video content from Pages that are involved in sharing schemes (which is more common than you’d believe)

Facebook Wishes It Was YouTube

One of the great mysteries of modern online marketing is why so many marketers think Facebook is great for video in the first place.

YouTube runs rings around Facebook (and Instagram) when it comes to online video consumption. A point acknowledged by CEO Mark Zuckerberg before Xmas.

The latest ranking factors from Facebook have a definite whiff of YouTube Watch Time about them.

Watch Time is the total accumulated amount of time people have spent watching your video on YouTube and often considered to be YouTube's lead video ranking factor.

It appears that to revive flagging Facebook video performance, marketers will need to think more like YouTubers.

This latest algorithm update, along with the rest which we have seen since 2018, also implies another interesting trend… viral content is dead.

Marketers who produce consistently good video content, which is 1-3+ mins on the reg, should stand to win big.

If you don’t? Then, perhaps, not so much.

 

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