Is video still king, given the latest Facebook algorithm change?

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Communicator London consider the effect that Facebook's new changes to video uploads will have on content strategies.

By now you’ve probably heard that video is king, but as of recently, that has become a half-truth. Rather, ‘original video is king’ would be more accurate given Facebook’s recent update to the algorithm, namely to the three factors that impact video ranking on Facebook: 1) loyalty and intent, 2) video and viewing durations, and 3) originality.

In this context, original video is either content you produce yourself or take from other sources as long as you make meaningful adjustments (e.g. adding commentary, creative editing, etc.). Adding a watermark and splicing videos together simply won’t cut it.

Will this change affect your video content strategy? Definitely. Let’s break down each of these factors and discuss how:

  1. Loyalty and intent: repeat viewership is an important factor when delivering videos to audiences in the News Feed. Going forward, Facebook will add more weight when ranking videos that people seek out and return to week after week. Prepare to see more serialised content such as Nas Daily pushed on your news feed, and we are already seeing brands such as Harley-Davidson regularly sharing videos as part of their ‘Freedom Stories’ content pillar.
  2. Viewing duration: It’s important to ensure that videos capture viewers’ attention for at least one minute. Save the bite-sized content for Instagram or Tik-Tok, as Facebook will prioritise highly-engaging videos that are at least three minutes long. Lululemon UK has a strong video strategy that provides value via instructional running and yoga videos, placed in separate playlists for users’ convenience.
  3. Originality: This isn’t news, as they announced that they would limit distribution for unoriginal or repurposed content from other sources (think Unilad) last year. What they willdo is more strongly limit distribution and monetisation for this kind of content.

Unless you are a media company, the good news is that you probably won’t need to overhaul your entire strategy and start investing most of your budget into serialised original long-form Facebook video production. Now that you’ve exhaled, there is still an important question that needs answering - how can you make this change work in your favour and ensure your content is seen and engaged with? Let’s dive in:

  • Consider collaboration opportunities. If you do not have the budget to invest in original long-form video content production, seeking out sponsorship and collaboration opportunities with professional creators could be the next best thing. Influencers attract most views on Facebook, with 56% of total views, while media companies pull 40%, and brands draw 4%; this number has been growing ever since Facebook has launched its brand collabs manager last year. Collaborating with video publishers has an unparalleled benefit of reaching an already dedicated fanbase, and the likes of Curry’s PC world really utilised that to its full potential with their four-part collab video series with The Hook.
  • Less is More. Invest in quality, not quantity. Whether it’s entertainment or education, make sure your content provides value to your fans. Fender masterfully does this by utilising Facebook video to its maximum potential via live ‘play-along series’. Not only do users get push notifications when the page goes live, Fender also gets high-quality long-format videos off the back of this all while providing value to their fans. Of course, live video might not be the solution for every brand out there, but this serves as an example of good quality over quantity strategy with the end user at the heart. Danielle Smith, Communicator’s Managing Director, wrote a piece on this topic which you can check out here.
  • Re-evaluate your current ad placement strategy. Although automated ad placement will generally optimise for best results (Facebook will decide if your ad is better suited for news feed placement, in-stream video, on audience network, etc.), it’s worth keeping a separate test budget for a more narrowly-targeted approach, focusing on video placements only. This might help you discover niche audiences and get ahead of competitors in targeting them. Not only that, with the growing competition with the likes of Apple TV+, Disney+ and YouTube, we expect Facebook to offer advertisers increasingly competitive costs, bringing the video placement pricing down.

To sum up, don’t post for the sake of it, have a well-rounded content strategy with a great story at its heart. Seek out sponsorship opportunities to align your brand with professional video content creators. Finally, if the budget is a limiting factor, be smart with your ad placements. Does your brand tick all of these boxes?

Mark Shpungin is the social media manager at Communicator London.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.