Facebook video ranking updates – what you need to know

23rd May 2019

Video plays a huge role in successful Facebook marketing campaigns. Mark Zuckerberg said back in 2016, “I just think that we’re going to be in a world a few years from now where the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.”

Indeed video is the best performing type of content on the social platform; it generates 59% more engagement than all other formats and from the chart below, you can see it beats the next leading format, “questions” by some way. (Buzzsumo, 2019)

Facebook engagement stats Buzzsumo.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced a series of changes to the way it ranks videos and determines how they are distributed – and ultimately how often your brand content is seen in the feed. In this blog, find out more about the changes and how you can maximise your brand’s Facebook video marketing strategy.

What are Facebook’s new video ranking factors?

The changes fit into three categories: loyalty and intent, video and viewing duration, and originality. Broadly, we can see a focus on quality over quantity and overall the strategy for Facebook video is becoming more akin to what works on YouTube.

Loyalty and intent

The algorithm is prioritising video content where users are engaged for more extended periods of time and come back again and again to watch more. The key is to create content that pulls people back to the news feed.

Video length

Videos should keep viewers watching for a least a minute, and moving forward they will actively add more weight in rankings to those videos that are at least three minutes long.

Original content

Original content will be favoured over unoriginal or repurposed content from other sources with “limited or immaterial added value”. They will also limit “sharing schemes” which distribute clickbait video from online content mills and monetisation for these kinds of unoriginal content will be discouraged.

How do you act on these ranking factors to create winning videos?

Overall these ranking factors are all about quality over quantity and using your video content to build your brand. However, there are tweaks that you can make to ensure that you stay at the top of your audience’s feeds.

Get creative

We hope that you are already creating original content for your brand. It is vital to ensure that your marketing team or external agencies are producing relevant content that builds your brand reputation rather than sharing content from other outlets or videos that are not adding value.

Storytelling in longer videos

With social video, we usually think of shortform content, but Facebook is encouraging longer videos with at least one minute with a view to prioritising content up to three minutes.

Your videos for Facebook can be more like the content you are sharing on YouTube. Use the time wisely to tell a story and engage your audience. As with all content, start with an eye-catching opening and then set up a narrative arc that will hook people into watching to find out how it ends. We often suggest starting with an emotional hook, then introducing more factual content and then finishing on an emotional CTA.

Emotional storytelling will not only help your brand in terms of the Facebook algorithm but also elicit behaviour change in your audience. Psychologist, Paul Zak found that people will donate more money when they’re emotionally engaged in a story.

Focus on quality, rather than clickbait

Rather than creating clickbait content, focus on building your brand with quality, engaging content that is being actively viewed by the audience.

Use video rather than slideshows

It is also all about video rather than using image-based slideshows as replacements for video. Ensure that you have the skills in-house or seek the advice of an external partner to get your video content up to scratch.

Optimise your content for Facebook search

In order to optimise for search, write clear titles and descriptions for your posts and include a few relevant tags. The copy works in tandem with your video content to add context and encourage people to click. As well as helping more people see your content in Facebook searches, they may also appear in the recommended videos Facebook show to people in News Feed and Facebook Watch.

Facebook Hub Content

We would advise developing a video series which is shared at the same time each week and encourages viewers to return regularly to watch more. Again we can see the parallels with your YouTube video strategy here and the Hero, Hub, Help model. This change to the algorithm is prioritising hub content that develops a community for your brand and pulls them back each week.

Hub content should not be directly promotional but designed to be useful and interesting for your audience. However, ensure that your video is branded so that you get the maximum benefit from it. If you’re looking for inspiration for your Hub content, check out the 60s interview series with artists for the Tate and here’s a range of videos we created for Costa Coffee.

How are you managing the changes to Facebook video?

If you’d like to chat further about how to create videos for Facebook that attract attention and get watched on the feed, get in touch.

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