Meta recently published a guide to explain video distribution on Facebook, in which they share Facebook video best practices and the signals that have the most impact on Facebook video distribution. In other words, Meta tells us what factors go into the Facebook video algorithm.
Here are the signals that will improve Facebook video distribution:
- Video you shot and edited yourself, that’s “distinctive and produced in a manner that’s never been made before” will get priority.
- Reshared/licensed video (unless with a meaningful edit or commentary) will get deprioritized
- Avoid duplicate content
Capture AND Retain Attention:
“Videos that capture the audience’s attention and inspire people to watch to the end may earn more distribution on Facebook.” Early and sharp drop-off will not. You can use the video retention graph metrics to see how your videos are doing.
As for length of video: “Content should only be as long as it needs to be.”
Keep People Coming Back
This one goes beyond video views and has to do with your account fanship and their loyalty. “When people regularly come back to view an account’s videos, we take it as a strong, positive signal for distribution.”
- Regular repeat visits to view your videos
- Searches for your content, on Facebook or Facebook watch
- Visits to and searches on your account
- Back and forth, respectful discussion in the comments (this is an interesting one, given that you can’t quite control if the discussions are respectful, but it’s implying that you do have a responsibility for how you set the tone and monitor comments. And that you should respond to comments and maintain conversation)
- Authentic reshares of the content
- Likes, comments and reactions that happen organically
Signals that will hurt and reduce Facebook Video distribution:
- If the video feels like slideshows
- Manufactured sharing behaviors
- Bait tactics (engagement, watch and clickbait tactics)
I highlighted earlier that the algorithm seeks signals of authentic and organic behavior. This will make those who engage in pod, “like” and “share exchanges” unhappy.
Facebook is saying that if you’re manufacturing engagement and sharing behaviors through pods, groups, slack channels, etc, that may hurt your content’s distribution.
How do they know that you’re inauthentically driving sharing behavior? For example (and Facebook makes it clear this is just one signal, which indicates there could be others), “When an account repeatedly shares content from another Page with which they have no direct connection, and the content is not related to any theme of their Page.”
For those familiar with SEO, there is a similar Google algorithm signal that looks for the context of the links coming back to your website – are they from a page and domain with similar content?
You can keep an eye on your own video signals by tracking your analytics in Facebook’s Creator Studio.