In his latest post, Hamish Brown, sales manager at Brightcove ANZ, takes a look at Facebook’s new update and what it all means for brands, particularly those ones who use it for video…
There’s been a lot of talk about what updates to Facebook’s news feed algorithm mean for brands generally, but not much about what it means for brand video specifically. It’s no secret the social media network has become a key platform for the explosive success of video over recent years, with brands reaping huge results in terms of engagement with audiences. But what does the future look like for brand video in light of these changes?
Facebook explicitly said video will see less prioritisation in the news feed, particularly those on public pages. This is because the social network has committed to prioritising “meaningful interactions” over “relevant content”. It’s using person-to-person interactions as a proxy for content relevance, creating a formula of ‘interaction = quality’. Content that does not result in interaction will, therefore, be ranked lower.
Clearly, the update is going to drastically alter the results brands have been reaping with Facebook video. So, what’s next? How can brands succeed with video marketing in a world of person-to-person prioritisation?
The first step is to switch up strategy and adapt, as brands had to do last December with the “engagement bait” penalty, which demotes pages explicitly asking for votes, reacts, shares, tags, and comments. There are a couple of ways to adapt and achieve success.
Quality, quality, quality
Video that generates person-to-person interaction is being ranked higher so brand video will need to do more than spark interest, it will need to drive audiences to interact. It will mean raising relevancy and value to individual audience members, as well as subtly encouraging them to interact (without wandering into engagement baiting territory). A complex one to nail, but far from impossible.
Speaking on the changes, Mark Zuckerberg said time spent on Facebook will decrease as the overall goal is to make time spent more valuable. Brands must keep this sentiment in mind when adapting strategy and make videos as valuable as possible.
With the new update, interaction is highly prioritised, but meaningful interaction is king. What this means is interactions from users’ connections will get the biggest boost. On top of this, the quality of and effort in the interaction impacts its rank. A user typing a long and thoughtful reply to a connection’s post will increase the ranking of that post more than scrolling, passively reading, or simply watching. Again, the key is to tap into audience interest and generate as much excitement as possible to drive them to interact deeply.
Page posts that generate conversation will rank higher in the news feed. On this point, Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri explicitly called out live videos as driving discussion – in fact, six times as many interactions as regular videos on average. Live video streaming poses a huge opportunity to get in front of audiences. Captivating a live audience comes down to creating urgency and motivation to find out more so brands should tie livestreams to timely events like product announcements or breaking news. Once the audience has engaged, brands will have to consider the need for interaction and include “calls to interaction” in the livestream to increase its ranking.
The best way brands can get people to interact is by creating more personal and authentic videos. Production-wise, these won’t be the uber-polished and professional videos commissioned by large businesses. They’ll be the ones that evoke a personal connection or memory, driving audiences to interact and share with friends. Facebook groups are also a way to foster interaction. Brands should factor groups into their video strategy and build groups around specific areas of interest, share relevant videos in those, and get group members interacting.
Finally, it’s important for brands to remember Facebook isn’t the only channel for reaching audiences through video. There are other social networks out there and videos should be tailored to the guidelines and capabilities of each platform, but it’s key to be tapping audiences through each. Secondly, brands can’t forget about their owned channels as the reality of social networks is that brands are not in control. Whether it’s websites, blogs, landing pages or apps, people are always going to be attracted to video and these channels shouldn’t be neglected.
The response to Facebook’s updates for brands has largely been doom and gloom. Is the update something to worry about? Potentially. Will the changes make it more challenging for brands to succeed with Facebook video? Of course. Are there ways to adapt strategy, using video to generate meaningful interactions and taking ownership through brand channels, to achieve success? Absolutely.