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Social Video, Trends & Insights

How to prepare for Facebook’s algorithm changes

Jun 5, 2018

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Early this year, Facebook announced changes to its algorithm that prioritize meaningful interactions and the overall wellbeing of its users. The news caused a stir for advertisers, publishers, and brands that had grown comfortable with a video-first approach to the Facebook corner of the internet. But these latest algorithm changes don’t mean that video is going away, and they certainly don’t mean that it’s time to cut Facebook from your marketing strategy.

Facebook has changed its algorithm and reshaped its priorities countless times in the years since ‘The Facebook’ was nothing more than a dorm room dream. Adapting your mindset and your strategy is a necessary step toward keeping up with the teams in our always changing social media landscape. If anything, Facebook’s new direction is proof that you should never put all your eggs in one basket. Here are some ways to stay ahead and build a video strategy that includes Facebook without depending on it:

1. Diversify your content streams

First, let’s start by spreading your eggs out from the one Facebook basket. While Facebook should definitely factor into your video strategy, diversifying your content streams and publishing video across multiple social media channels is always going to be a smart move. And instead of simply pushing the same video out everywhere at once, take the time to customize formatting so that each video is the appropriate length, shape, and style for the platform you’re targeting. It’s as simple as a few small tweaks, like square videos for Instagram, teaser snippets for Twitter, and vertical alignment for Snapchat.

2. Customize your format for Facebook

Taking a deeper look at the behavior of Facebook users makes it easy to customize your video content specifically for a Facebook audience. On average, Facebook users watch videos for a total of 18.2 seconds. That single statistic makes it easy to see why longer videos aren’t as successful on Facebook, and proves that shorter content has the potential to earn higher video completion rates. In terms of the content itself, 93.2% of all engagements on Facebook video were clicks, as opposed to likes, comments, and shares. So a successful Facebook-customized video strategy will focus on driving traffic and boosting clicks through to more information, a landing page, or a company website.

3. Join the conversation around trending topics

Along with the general overhaul announcement, Facebook has released specifics about the algorithm change that can help you ensure users still get a chance to see and appreciate your video content. One of these new features prioritizes trending topics, highlighting content related to the topics that Facebook users are already talking about. Because high quality, on-message content remains a priority (both for Facebook and for brands and publishers), it’s important to focus on combining trending topics and hot news events with your business’ original, unique message and brand voice.

4. Lean on boosted posts and sponsored content

Since many brands already incorporate paid advertising in their Facebook video strategy, one of the most popular parts of the algorithm news was that the platform changes won’t impact sponsored content. Since paid content was already known to be performing better than organic content on the Facebook platform, the algorithm changes will be more useful in improving the dwindling quality of those organic posts more than in altering the already high quality of sponsored video. With that said, boosting your top quality, Facebook-customized videos to better reach targeted audiences is a great way to get your high-value video content in front of the right Facebook users.

5. Double down on quality

A major takeaway from Facebook’s algorithm change announcement is the focus on quality content. One of the ways they plan to squash inauthentic interactions is by devaluing engagement baiting—those posts using caption text to shamelessly ask users to like, share, tag friends, or comment in a certain way. Similarly, posts that point to low quality websites will also be demoted in the Facebook news feed. All of these changes serve as evidence that a winning video strategy for Facebook’s new algorithm will double down on high quality content. Users volunteering authentic, organic engagement in response to videos packed with beautiful visuals, curated audio, and timely, powerful, on-brand messaging—this is the way forward on the new Facebook.