If you like video on Facebook, prepare to see a whole lot more of it. Facebook, which touts that it gets over 4 billion video views per day, made some algorithm changes to the end user’s News Feed to show more video content to users who interact frequently with video.
Facebook keeps tracks of all the videos a user watches and how long they watched each video. People who watch a lot of videos on Facebook, will see videos higher up in their feeds. People who don’t watch a lot of videos on Facebook won’t see as much video content in their News Feed. Facebook also increases video content to people who take “actions” such as liking a video or sharing it to their own News Feed.
So if you like video on Facebook as a user, prepare to see a whole lot more of it.
But what does it means as an advertiser? At the very least it means you have better video advertising opportunities. Facebook gives preferential treatment to natively uploaded videos as opposed to YouTube videos shared on Facebook, now those videos are going to reach more interested and potentially engaged viewers. You just need to be careful what you consider important and track as “actions”. What Facebook considers an action and what is indicative of a true user action are very different things.
One of the most passive things you can do on Facebook is hitting “Like”, but Facebook considers it an action. Unfortunately, many people hit like without even thinking twice about it. People hit like when they sneeze. So it’s not what I would consider a true user action. A “view” is also not an action because Facebook counts anything that plays for more than 3 seconds a view. So if you open Facebook and leave your News Feed open on a video while you jump up to grab something you just printed; that’s a view. And if you’re browsing your feed when you get called away to an impromptu meeting if you happen to leave your News Feed with a video on the screen; that’s a view too.
So what is a TRUE user action? Without a doubt sharing a video is an action. The user needs to take several steps before actually sharing it to their feed. Watch to completion rates are an action. At the very least they show intent. Clicking play for sound or watching full screen is an action, both of which are data points you can access through Facebook Insights. Most importantly users clicking the call-to-action button at the end of the video shows definite interest and is without a doubt an action. Best of all if that link in your call-to-action goes to a landing page on your website, you can track that viewer’s path through your website analytics. This will give you a more robust view of how they are interacting with any of your other content.
So these changes Facebook made to their algorithm are a good thing for advertisers. You just need to keep a critical eye on the statistics and measure the true interactions to help paint a more complete and accurate picture of how your video marketing is doing for you. What do you think about the changes to Facebook’s algorithm? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Feel free to weigh in in the comments below.