- Facebook is updating its video-ranking system to give higher priority to original content that delivers on viewer intent, repeat viewership and longer watch times, strengthening the influence of previously established principles, per an announcement.
- Facebook said videos should hold viewer attention for at least 60 seconds, and its ranking will prioritize videos that are at least three minutes long. In addition, the company will more strongly limit videos from "content mills" that post clickbait or urge creators to participate in sharing schemes that drive viewership. Facebook also published an updated guide of best practices for video creators and publishers.
- Facebook's changes will affect video distribution throughout its social network, including user News Feeds, Facebook Watch and video recommendations. The company will roll out the updates to its video-ranking system over the next few months.
Facebook's changes to its video-ranking system are aimed at making the social network more appealing to advertisers, especially national brands with big media budgets traditionally used for broadcast TV. By emphasizing loyalty and viewing time, the social network seeks to improve the quality of videos that creators share on the social network and enhance the user experience. The updated ranking system and Facebook's revenue-sharing with creators likely will urge them to develop high-quality content that engages users and delivers audiences to sponsors.
The new video-ranking system may help Facebook reach its goal of overtaking Google's YouTube as the top video-sharing platform worldwide, but the social network also faces growing competition from traditional media companies and tech giants that are expanding their streaming services. Disney, AT&T's Warner Media and NBCUniversal all have big plans for streaming platforms, and Apple will roll out its Apple TV Plus streaming service this fall. The demand for high-quality programming is growing, as Apple demonstrated in announcing content deals with Hollywood A-listers like Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. Meanwhile, video streaming heavyweight Netflix is forecast to spend $15 billion this year on programming.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for years has touted the social network's shift toward video, including the rollout of Facebook Live for live streaming and Facebook Watch for on-demand videos. "We’re entering this new golden age of video," he told BuzzFeed News in 2016. "I wouldn’t be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see on Facebook and are sharing on a day-to-day basis is video."
The company last year said more than 400 million people monthly and 75 million people daily spent at least one minute on Facebook Watch, but the platform still lags behind News Feed as the way that most people interact with Facebook. The company earlier this year began asking content creators like producers, publishers and influencers with big followings on Instagram and other social platforms to offer up ideas for shows, reportedly offering $200,000 per eight-episode series. For advertisers, Facebook introduced ad-buying procedures for its premium video content to make its platform more like traditional broadcast TV.