- Facebook may want to focus on video, but media outlets including BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, the New York Times and the BBC, have all seen engagement as measured by likes, comments and sharing on their content go down over the last few months, according to research by analytics firm NewsWhip.
- The study looked at the top ten media publishers on Facebook and found likes are down 55% between July 2015 and April 2016, sharing is down 57% and comments 64%.
- At the same time publishers’ video clips are shared seven times more often than links.
One simple reason behind the numbers is that Facebook notably revamped its algorithm during the timeframe of the study, prioritizing video content in its users' news feeds. This move would necessarily make publishers' video content more prominent as well, but as Liam Corcoran, head of communications at NewsWhip, wrote in a blog post on the findings, "It’s hard to quantify, but it stands to reason that the increased attention on these videos mean that there’s less room to show everything in the news feed."
Going beyond just video content, Facebook also believes that video advertising, along with native ads, drive more value for both the marketers and the end user, going so far as to essentially drop banner ads from its Atlas ad platform. It has also been expanding its Facebook Audience Network ad platform, most recently showing ads to all visitors within the network where previously only users of one of Facebook’s different properties, like Facebook itself, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp.
Corcoran told Digiday, “If video is playing automatically and they can pick up with a story without sound, that seems to be why video is attracting this high level of engagement.” But regardless, what Corcoran and NewsWhip believe is that to really make a connection with consumers and drive high engagement, what publishers have to do is pay close attention to how their audiences are finding their news.