Facebook’s News Feed algorithm change is the current ‘hot topic’, impacting media outlets and brands which gain traffic via distributed posts on the social media platform.
Branded by Zuckerberg as the site’s return to a “personal service”, organic content posted by publishers and advertisers will be down ranked in favour of those of users’ friends and families, while content such as live video and discussion based groups will only apply to the new algorithm if they’re actively encouraging direct user engagement.
With some calling the move a death knell for organic content on the platform, speculation has arisen over where Facebook will be looking to channel a potential exodus, and its recent innovations into video are looking likely.
“Facebook has been studying TV for a few years now, and they see there is a certain equation to the size and success of TV,” Ben Winkler, the chief investment officer of the agency OMD, told the New York Times.
“It’s three elements: a high-quality user experience, prominent high-quality video and a curated, restricted supply of said video. What that equation results in is higher rates and stable, consistent ad dollars and growth — and Facebook is looking for ad growth.”
The year for video?
Launched in August last year, Facebook Watch is widely regarded as the next best option, a platform hosting organic video content where partners will receive 55% of mid-roll ad break revenue while the social network keeps 45%. Brands using Facebook Watch can run ads between five to 15 seconds long, at a time where advertisers only have 2.5 seconds to get their message across to their audience.
However, like with most advertising platforms, advertiser concerns chiefly circle how their ads are being targeted and whether or not they can be measured.
According to Digiday, media buyers who have been testing mid-roll ad placements on Facebook Watch are criticising the “lack of flexibility in measuring sales from their ads and in general quantifying performance”. Elsewhere, the micro-targeting options for ads on Facebook Watch appear to be limited despite advertisers able to target around specific interest such as sports and cooking.
However, Facebook is working to improve the video platform for advertisers; for instance, creating a testing structure to monitor and report ad metrics allowing advertisers to drive better brand lift. The network is also heading towards live sports, focusing on content relevancy which could attract more advertisers to using the platform.
With ad spending through video developing, Facebook Watch has been welcomed for utilising the ad model, with Sarah Hofstetter, chief executive of agency 360i adding that the platform “was built with the premise that ad dollars were coming to video," Hofstetter told the New York Times.
Hofstetter continued that Facebook Watch could further benefit advertisers to push towards more premium content if publishers who rely heavily on Facebook traffic started making fewer videos.
“This, in turn, could lead to less inventory and push advertisers towards the more premium videos within Facebook Watch.”