Video Might Be Your Best Bet With Facebook's Algorithm Update

The change at Facebook is yet another sign that video is becoming the dominant and preferred means of communicating to an online audience.

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By Lesya Liu • Apr 26, 2016

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Facebook's algorithm will change -- yet again. The algorithm update is twofold this time: Facebook will analyze the time spent on a given piece of content and will spread out content from the same publisher (challenging pages once more).

This update comes as no surprise. Facebook is trying to curate the most relevant and engaging content for its audience. While the network is still trying to figure out how to track usage data on desktop users, it now, in fact, can track the time and use on its mobile app as well as recently introduced Instant Articles.

The new addition to the algorithm is a part of a bigger effort, called Feed Quality Program, an undertaking where thousands of people rate their experiences on the site. The official news release points out an important revelation that "the actions people take on Facebook -- liking, clicking, commenting or sharing a post -- don't always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to them."

"We're learning that the time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them," the post stated.

Yet, to level out the game for publishers, Facebook says there will be a threshold in place, so that longer articles will not necessarily have an edge with the new update. The latest revision is primarily targeting click bait content, where the article itself might not live up to, or be consistent with, the title, resulting in people exiting out right away.

Related: 4 Tips to Create and Groom a Viral Facebook Video Ad

Another thing the new algorithm will watch for is the volume of content that is pushed into the newsfeeds from the same publisher. This might result in two completely opposite outcomes: pages that are currently enjoying high levels of reach (thanks to their great content marketing strategy) will possibly see a decrease in their analytics. Yet, pages that are usually on backsides, might experience an increase in their posts' reach, as Facebook is trying to feature content from all of the pages a user follows. The authors of the post hurry to reassure that "some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic, and some Pages might see minor decreases."

The network will continue to roll out the updated algorithm, so watch those statistics to see how this change affects your business.

Related: 3 Essentials for Making a Facebook Video That Gets People to Buy

From a business owner viewpoint, the new update adds yet another hoop to jump through. Not only your content needs to be engaging, it needs to be long too! Yet, in reality, it seems logical that people spend more time on engaging content anyway.

If up to this point you were doing Facebook marketing right, this won't take you by surprise. First of all, don't forget the mentioned threshold will ensure that longer articles do not get preferential treatment. A shorter article that packs tons of value will keep visitors on a site for a few minutes, which should be plenty for Facebook to recognize good content. Also, if you have the right audience following you on Facebook, they'll be that much more interested in your content and will read it instead of skimming through it. Finally, no one canceled likes, shares and comments, as those social signals continue to play an important role.

Related: Why Facebook Says Your Video Ads Should Be Silent

If anything, this algorithm requires two things of publishers: a stronger writing that pulls readers in deeper with every sentence and creating video content.

Yes, you've read it right – use of video. Facebook is making a huge push for its native video features, including Facebook Live and audience targeting. The social network will analyze not only time sent on written content, but multimedia as well. Video content is on a mind-blowing rise; it is also more engaging because of its ability to involve multiple senses.

It is also much more effective for a content creator to produce a one-minute video instead of 500-word article with the exact same content. It is also much more time-efficient on a part of a user who might spare a minute for your content instead of scanning through an article (a whooping majority of people these days tend to read only titles).

Plus, Facebook Live might just be the cure for all your Facebook-related ills. If you resolve to share exciting updates with live broadcasting (including, but not limited to product launches, Q&A sessions, and behind the scenes moments), people will love to spend time on your content, signaling Facebook of a new amazing content creator in the making.

Lesya Liu

Social Media Strategist at The Social Media Current

Lesya Liu helps entrepreneurs create a meaningful and profitable Instagram presence that feels right for their creative businesses. Born and raised in Ukraine, she is a social media strategist and a photographer. Her passion lies in combining art and marketing to create compelling storytelling, both visually and textually. Most days she roams the Interwebs, looking for fresh, inspirational ideas or testing things out on her own social channels.

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