Social media behemoth Facebook is making yet another move to make video a central part of its content mix, with a tweak to its algorithm to prioritise longer clips in the News Feed.
According to product manager Abhishek Bapna and research scientist Seyoung Park the social network has long ranked those clips that garner higher completion rates higher, but now it’s cross-referencing that metric with the length of the video.
“One of the signals we look at is ‘percent completion,’ — the percentage of each video you watch — to help us understand which videos you enjoyed,” the two said in a blog post. “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 realised that we should therefore weight percentage completion more heavily the longer a video is, to avoid penalising longer videos.”
The company also ranks videos by a range of other factors, whether people choose to turn on sound, and if people open the video in full screen. As such, length isn’t everything, and while some shorter videos may see a slight dip in News Feed distribution, most pages will not see significant changes in distribution as a result of the update, the company said. But, people who find longer videos engaging may be able to discover more of them in News Feed.
This change to the News Feed's algorithms is the latest in a series of moves that Facebook has recently made on the video front. For instance, it recently started giving publishers the ability to show mid-roll ads, and last year it made considerable changes to its Live functionality to make the offering more broadcast-like.
The move also comes as Facebook is considering investing in its own original long-form shows.