The highlight of the month is: Facebook wants you to watch longer videos. The reason? If users start watching videos on Facebook as they do on television or on YouTube itself, they will be able to sell through their new “mid-roll” ads.

According to Abhishek Bapna, one of Facebook’s product managers, “completing a long video is a greater commitment than completing a shorter video.” And, according to Young Park, one of Facebook’s research scientists, “As we continue to understand how our community consumes video, we realize that we should therefore review the weight of percentages, giving more weight to longer videos instead of penalizing them.”

That means users who enjoy longer videos will find them more easily in their news feeds, according to Facebook. As a result, some shorter videos may have a slight drop in the News Feed distribution.

Facetube: longer videos

This move is part of Facebook’s effort to increase the time users spend on the website, which should bring more advertisers. Facebook users were already watching 100 million hours of video per day on the platform in 2016, according to Recode. If Facebook increases average viewing time, it could generate $ 3.8 billion in video advertising revenue this year, which is three times more than was expected in 2015, according to Variety.

As part of the effort for this move, Facebook is already launching new ways to place ads in contents. Earlier this month, in fact, the company began testing ads in the middle of videos. Marketing messages appear once the viewer has watched 20 seconds of a video that runs for at least 90 seconds and are limited to 15 seconds in length. Facebook gives publishers 55 percent of advertising revenue.

Recently, Facebook, in an article on their blog, reminded the video creators that they shouldn’t try to play with the algorithm, but keep tabs on their own reviews to see which videos are the best ones on their page. “The best length for a video is the length that it takes to tell an engaging story that engages people, which is likely to vary depending on the story you’re telling,” says the Facebook post.

The fact is that Facebook wants people to see longer videos, so they’ll begin to prioritize them in the News Feed.

What changes in the Facebook algorithm?

As we stated earlier, Facebook is specifically changing the way it weighs the “percentage of completion”, that is, the percentage of a video you end up watching, according to the post posted by the company. This means that “longer videos, which people spend time watching, may see a slight increase in Facebook distribution.”

This change to News Feed algorithms is the latest in a series of adjustments Facebook made, coupled with the changes that favored live videos and posts shared by friends rather than editors.

In addition, Facebook has recently been giving publishers the ability to show ads in the middle of the channel or ads in the middle of videos. When surfing for longer videos, the average ads will be shown to more people.

This move also shows how Facebook is considering its own unique way of displaying videos in its mobile app. This is aligned with the words of Abhishek Bapna, who states that if you watch most or all of a video, this informs Facebook that you considered that video attractive and that is why the percentage of these videos will change.

To speed up this process, Facebook is emphasizing long videos in its News Feed algorithm.

Why does Facebook want you to watch longer videos?

In fact, economically speaking, this is something that Facebook had to do. After all, it’s much easier to sell ads for longer videos. After all, watching 15 seconds of an ad in a 60 second video is horrible. But watching in a video of 5 minutes may be worth it.

So to make its next $10B, Facebook had no choice but to make its users tune in more often and for longer.

What makes experts and marketers anxious, however, is the fact that Facebook user behavior is in favor of shorter content. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the platform will be able to change the algorithm (at least not in the short term). According to intelligence reports, two-thirds of Facebook’s 200 most viewed videos in the last 3 months were clips of 90 seconds or less and only 7 were 5 minutes or more.

In that sense, to stimulate both the consumption and the creation of longer videos, Facebook says it was rewarding video creators if users watch their videos until the end. The goal was to credit the video editors with a preview if someone watched for a minimum of three seconds. This rewards system, along with the fact that Facebook automatically played videos to users when they appeared in the feed, forced Facebook publishers to make compelling videos that really grabbed their attention.

However, many Facebook editors were reporting that their video completion rates are pretty low. So, in addition to the rewards system, Facebook has decided to improve its news feed algorithm, rewarding longer videos even more. And that strategy will certainly emphasize the timing of the videos on the timeline, a tactic that has been used for some time by Mark Zuckerberg’s “rivals.”

Along with that, Facebook is launching a new advertising format called “mid-roll” for the videos, but only for those under 90 seconds. In this sense, the company informs the publishers that, if they want to make more money, they need to keep their users engaged longer, which means creating longer videos. Facebook itself has stated that longer videos mean that people will spend more time watching them and this will generate a slight increase in Facebook’s distribution.

So why does Facebook want you to watch longer videos? This is an attempt to compete with YouTube, which is considered the gold standard in long video consumption. On Facebook, people’s behavior is to consume as much content as possible, ranging from the status of friends to news articles. On YouTube, however, users have a purpose and choose what they want to watch. So they stay engaged longer.

Facebook, however, points out that revenue, competition and speculation don’t matter as much as the willingness to make the story a good one. In this sense, even with the change in the algorithm, Facebook does not want pages to make great efforts to produce longer videos, but rather to ensure that users will want to watch content. Because, after all, what really counts is the engagement and how much of the video the users are actually watching. If this rate is close to 100%, it will be distributed in the news feed, even if it has only 20 seconds.

Why are videos important on your content strategy?

Video consumption grew significantly in 2015 and it continued to skyrocket in 2016. In 2017, it is the apple of every marketer’s eye. This format offers many advantages when compared to other forms of content.

It brings together all the communication components that draw the attention of the user: words, images and sounds. So the turn of the time is the play button.

By passing your message through video, it can be attractive, quick and prioritize what needs to be prioritized. In addition, images can delight consumers faster, leaving them more involved and more likely to continue their journey through the sales funnel.

Videos also facilitate the inception of the content. Experts say that 52% of video content generates a higher return and, moreover, they bet that this year, videos will account for 69% of online traffic and the forecast is that, by 2018, this number increases to 79%.

With Contentools platform you can also create scripts for videos and webinars. Count with our help to manage these content formats and with our professionals to find the best members for your team.

Do you think Facebook might win this battle? Leave your opinion in the comments!

And if you want to understand how the Contentools platform, get in touch with one of our experts who will be pleased to take your questions and help you in this journey of content in the form of videos!