• Face­book is updat­ing its video-rank­ing sys­tem to give high­er pri­or­i­ty to orig­i­nal con­tent that deliv­ers on view­er intent, repeat view­er­ship and longer watch times, strength­en­ing the influ­ence of pre­vi­ous­ly estab­lished prin­ci­ples, per an announce­ment.
  • Face­book said videos should hold view­er atten­tion for at least 60 sec­onds, and its rank­ing will pri­or­i­tize videos that are at least three min­utes long. In addi­tion, the com­pa­ny will more strong­ly lim­it videos from “con­tent mills” that post click­bait or urge cre­ators to par­tic­i­pate in shar­ing schemes that dri­ve view­er­ship. Face­book also pub­lished an updat­ed guide of best prac­tices for video cre­ators and pub­lish­ers.
  • Face­book’s changes will affect video dis­tri­b­u­tion through­out its social net­work, includ­ing user News Feeds, Face­book Watch and video rec­om­men­da­tions. The com­pa­ny will roll out the updates to its video-rank­ing sys­tem over the next few months.


Face­book’s changes to its video-rank­ing sys­tem are aimed at mak­ing the social net­work more appeal­ing to adver­tis­ers, espe­cial­ly nation­al brands with big media bud­gets tra­di­tion­al­ly used for broad­cast TV. By empha­siz­ing loy­al­ty and view­ing time, the social net­work seeks to improve the qual­i­ty of videos that cre­ators share on the social net­work and enhance the user expe­ri­ence. The updat­ed rank­ing sys­tem and Face­book’s rev­enue-shar­ing with cre­ators like­ly will urge them to devel­op high-qual­i­ty con­tent that engages users and deliv­ers audi­ences to spon­sors.

The new video-rank­ing sys­tem may help Face­book reach its goal of over­tak­ing Google’s YouTube as the top video-shar­ing plat­form world­wide, but the social net­work also faces grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion from tra­di­tion­al media com­pa­nies and tech giants that are expand­ing their stream­ing ser­vices. Dis­ney, AT&T’s Warn­er Media and NBCU­ni­ver­sal all have big plans for stream­ing plat­forms, and Apple will roll out its Apple TV Plus stream­ing ser­vice this fall. The demand for high-qual­i­ty pro­gram­ming is grow­ing, as Apple demon­strat­ed in announc­ing con­tent deals with Hol­ly­wood A‑listers like Steven Spiel­berg, Oprah Win­frey and Reese With­er­spoon. Mean­while, video stream­ing heavy­weight Net­flix is fore­cast to spend $15 bil­lion this year on pro­gram­ming.

Face­book founder and CEO Mark Zucker­berg for years has tout­ed the social net­work’s shift toward video, includ­ing the roll­out of Face­book Live for live stream­ing and Face­book Watch for on-demand videos. “We’re enter­ing this new gold­en age of video,” he told Buz­zFeed News in 2016. “I wouldn’t be sur­prised if you fast-for­ward five years and most of the con­tent that peo­ple see on Face­book and are shar­ing on a day-to-day basis is video.”

The com­pa­ny last year said more than 400 mil­lion peo­ple month­ly and 75 mil­lion peo­ple dai­ly spent at least one minute on Face­book Watch, but the plat­form still lags behind News Feed as the way that most peo­ple inter­act with Face­book. The com­pa­ny ear­li­er this year began ask­ing con­tent cre­ators like pro­duc­ers, pub­lish­ers and influ­encers with big fol­low­ings on Insta­gram and oth­er social plat­forms to offer up ideas for shows, report­ed­ly offer­ing $200,000 per eight-episode series. For adver­tis­ers, Face­book intro­duced ad-buy­ing pro­ce­dures for its pre­mi­um video con­tent to make its plat­form more like tra­di­tion­al broad­cast TV.