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Facebook changes video ranking rules

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Facebook is shaking up the way it determines video rankings on the site.

The social network has been significantly stepping up its efforts to rival YouTube in recent years, from the actual platform itself (Facebook Watch) and monetisation methods to celebrity-backed content (Red Table with Jada Pinkett-Smith). But all of this is for naught if videos aren’t getting seen.

“We want to help talented video creators find their audience and build profitable video businesses on Facebook”, said Facebook in a blog post announcing its rankings change. “We want to help media companies — whether large, small, global, or local — continue their invaluable work. And above all, we want to help people on Facebook discover great videos and build relationships with the creators and publishers that matter to them.”

And so Facebook is rolling out a series of ranking updates over the coming months that will further prioritize original videos that people seek out. The updated algorithm will analyse three factors:

Loyalty and intent: Intent and repeat viewership are important factors Facebook considers when surfacing videos, with more weight given to videos that people seek out and return to week after week.

Video and viewing duration: Facebook likes videos that capture viewers’ attention for at least one minute. It will add more weight in ranking to videos that keep people engaged, especially on videos that are at least three minutes long.

Originality: Last year, Facebook began to limit distribution for unoriginal or repurposed content from other sources with limited or immaterial added value — as well as demote video content from Pages that are involved in sharing schemes. Facebook will more strongly limit distribution and monetisation for this kind of content.

These are not new principles, but Facebook is strengthening their influence among the multiple factors that determine video distribution. The changes will affect video distribution across Facebook, including News Feed, Facebook Watch and our “More Videos” recommendations.

“While there are numerous factors that determine video distribution on Facebook, these changes will benefit video distribution for Pages that create original content people want to watch and come back to,” says Facebook.

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