Facebook updated its News Feed algorithm to favor vanity metrics determined by in-video user actions like clicks and views over popularity metrics determined by likes, comments and shares. Although the changes are meant to improve the user experience, it causes marketers to miss out on key audience insights to understand the bigger ROI picture.
Vanity vs. Engagement
Measuring engagement by in-video interactions like clicks and views feels more like clickbait measurement versus a true reflection of audience engagement. At the surface, rewarding video clicks that contribute to paid metrics seems like another example of Facebook catering to its ad partners.
By favoring “clicked content” in the News Feed, the network is prioritizing attractiveness versus effectiveness. Facebook considers: Is this video (at a glance) attractive enough for the user to think they want to watch it? While marketers dig deeper: How effective is the content and do users care about the message after watching the video? Does this video create a connection between the brand and the viewer?
Engagement should be measured by a balanced mix of in-video interactions and popularity metrics to provide a better understanding of how the content is resonating with the target audience.
Audience Insights and ROI
Marketers are increasingly turning to Facebook to host video because of the valuable audience insights offered, which may be its biggest advantage over YouTube. More metrics means more accurate audience targeting and greater opportunity to personalize the user experience. By favoring in-video actions, Facebook is turning their backs on and depriving marketers of key audience data based on actual likes and shares. Vanity metrics alone are not a true reflection of user engagement.
Embrace All Metrics
A view is not a like. A share is different than a click. The most successful marketers are looking deeper into the funnel whenever possible. Engagement metrics are not only where you can measure whether or not you delivered something of value, but also where meaningful insights about the customer reside.
Erika Trautman is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rapt Media, a creative platform for interactive enterprise video that drives deeper engagement, and enables marketers to measure viewer metrics and gain powerful audience insights.