Facebook News Feed Algorithm: Percent of a Video Watched By Users Given Weight

Facebook announced another change to its News Feed algorithm, this time giving more weight to what percentage of a video is watched by users.

Facebook announced another change to its News Feed algorithm, this time giving more weight to what percentage of a video is watched by users.

Product manager Abhishek Bapna and research scientist Seyoung Park detailed the tweak in a Newsroom post, saying that one of the reasons for the move was to avoid penalizing longer videos. They wrote:

Today, we’re announcing a change to the way we rank videos in News Feed to adjust the value we give to how much of a video is watched. One of the signals we look at is “percent completion”–the percent of each video you watch–to help us understand which videos you enjoyed. If you watch most or all of a video, that tells us that you found the video to be compelling–and we know that completing a longer video is a bigger commitment than completing a shorter one. As we continue to understand how our community consumes video, we’ve realized that we should therefore weight percent completion more heavily the longer a video is, to avoid penalizing longer videos.

Bapna and Park said the change to the algorithm will “roll out gradually over the coming weeks,” and they addressed its potential impact on pages:

While we expect that most pages will not see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update, longer videos that people spend time watching may see a slight increase in distribution on Facebook–so people who find longer videos engaging may be able to discover more of them in News Feed. As a side effect, some shorter videos may see a slight dip in News Feed distribution.

As always, pages should focus on creating videos that are relevant and engaging to their audiences. Longer videos that people don’t want to watch will not perform better in News Feed. The best length for a video is whatever length is required to tell a compelling story that engages people, which is likely to vary depending on the story you’re telling. You also should look at your video insights in page analytics to understand how your videos perform.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the latest change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm?

Image courtesy of nicomenijes/iStock.