What Facebook newsfeed video changes mean for you

Nathan Coyne looks at the changes to Facebook’s newsfeed and what it means for posting ideo on the platform

Earlier this month Facebook announced plans to make major changes to the content it shows in newsfeeds.

Amid the announcement by founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was the revelation that the network would show less video content from businesses, brands and media.

Instead the newsfeed will focus on promoting content from family and friends, to help people to 'have more meaningful social interactions'.

So what does this mean for the likes of charities, trade associations, unions and research bodies, who make up the majority of our client base?

Well, it is very likely that as the changes are implemented over the coming months the videos published via organisation/brand pages will receive less prominence than they did previously.

Facebook has invested heavily in promoting video content in previous years, but the 'explosion of video' has, according to head of newsfeed Adam Mosseri, led to a 'paradigm shift' that has changed the way people interact with the platform.

'Video is, primarily, a passive experience. You tend to just sit back and watch it. And while you're watching it, you're not usually liking or comment or speaking with friends,' he told Wired.

Now, it’s worth pointing out here that this isn’t a negative for the creators of video; ‘sitting back and watching it’ is precisely what we want people to do.

But Facebook has deemed this a move away from its founding principles as a communication tool for friends and family.

It is perhaps also fuelled by the nature of many of these videos – the vast majority of which, aren’t original content of the like that Senate Media produces.

Facebook’s focus on video has, as tech publication The Verge points out, 'led to the proliferation of fast, cheap video, which meant lots of stock footage with captions over it'.

Video is not the sole target of the changes. More widely all 'public content from businesses, brands and media' will be eschewed in favour of content from family and friends.

As such, video from friends and family are likely to remain prominent.

And videos that receive large numbers of comments will also stay prominent, with commenting being deemed a stronger indicator of interest than ‘likes’. Generating those comments in the first place though must surely be more difficult if they are shown in fewer newsfeeds.

Sponsored video posts, unsurprisingly, will be unaffected by the changes, so advertisers can still achieve prominence by stumping up cash.

And as Mosseri told Wired, video is still a critical part of Facebook’s long-term strategy: 'We think video is going to continue to be a more and more important part about how people communicate with each other, and how publishers communicate with people.'

Some commentators believe this move is part of a strategy, not only to steer publishers of video towards advertising on Facebook, but also to boost its new video platform Watch, where the focus is on longer-form videos and shows.

But, aside from speculation, one thing you can be sure of is that organic video posts will drive less traffic.

The damage this does to your overall video strategy is dependent on your audience. For many of our clients, the key audience is professional users watching video in a professional context e.g while they are at work, or for the purposes of work.

That being the case, Facebook wouldn’t be the social platform of choice anyway. You may post on Facebook because your organisation has a page, but Twitter or LinkedIn are a much more natural home for this audience.

Campaigns targeting younger people, or mass audiences will however be impacted and for these there will be more of a need to consider paying for advertising on Facebook.

We will be watching with interest what happens with video posting via Facebook pages in the coming months, to understand what exactly the overall impact of these changes will be.

In the meantime, there seems little reason to panic among our client base. Stay focused on the platforms where your audience is more likely to be. Or more pertinently, stay focused on producing videos for your audience not for platforms.

Nathan Coyne
By Nathan Coyne