Last week, Facebook announced three changes to its an algorithm that, in the end, will make it more difficult for your company and mine to get our videos viewed.
The company is tweaking the underlying code that determines where and how often information - particularly videos - come up on a user's News Feed. If a video is determined to have less watch times, less repeat views or is deemed unoriginal or re-purposed then it will be pushed down on a user's feed. That means less access, less views, less visibility and - if this is part of your advertising revenue stream - less money.
"We want to help talented video creators find their audience and build profitable video businesses on Facebook," David Miller, a product management director at the company wrote in a blog post. "We want to help media companies -- whether large, small, global, or local -- continue their invaluable work. And above all, we want to help people on Facebook discover great videos and build relationships with the creators and publishers that matter to them."
The company is now emphasizing three big things: loyalty and intent, viewing duration and originality. And can you blame them? There's currently a lot of noise on the social media platform and for a long time users have complained about irrelevant and unhelpful videos - not to mention annoying advertisements - that show up on their page and which don't provide them any value. Back in the day, it was all about the quantity of content. Now companies like Facebook and Google are stressing its quality. Hey Netflix, are you listening?
What impact does this have on my business and yours? If, like me, you're active on Facebook then we're all going to be forced to step up our game. That means spending more time, resources and money on producing relevant, quality, original content. Just re-posting someone else's stuff isn't going to cut it anymore. Nor will buying canned videos or creating content just for the purpose of creating more content, instead of something of more value.
"While there are numerous factors that determine video distribution on Facebook, these changes will benefit video distribution for Pages that create original content people want to watch and come back to." Smith wrote. "We'll continue to improve video ranking to show videos that people value and to help great video makers reach more people on Facebook."
So how to respond? I recommend that we all take these three steps.
Re-visit our past videos. I plan to spend a few hours analyzing which of my past videos were the most popular and which ones would make Facebook happy. I'll use their metrics - viewing duration, number of views and originality - as my benchmarks. For the ones that fared well I plan to do more of the same. For the duds I'll make sure not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Post less often. I will change the rules about posting. Up until now I had this "requirement" of 2-3 posts a day because I believed it was fulfilling some kind of mystical obligation to the social media Gods. But now it will be about quality, not quantity. I can go a week without posting if that week was used to create something really good. Facebook will elevate that good content and make up for the time that lapsed between posts with more views. In the end, that will benefit my Page - and my community - even more.
Finally, make better videos. I will need to stop being lazy and just re-purpose videos just for the sake of putting content out there. Instead, I'll invest more time and effort into making better, more relevant content. That means specific advice for the products I sell and interviews with clients where their insights could help others. I'm also planning on more online training and free tips. I know that some of these videos will fare better than others, so I'll need to continue to track that too.
So yes, Facebook's recent video ranking change will present some challenges. But things change and oftentimes - especially in this case - that change is for the better. I'm a fan of better quality. Now I'll need to live it.