How Facebook’s Changes Could Impact Your Video Strategy

Take control of your video business by engaging viewers on your owned and operated site

Ever since Facebook announced that it would feature more content from users than from brands on the News Feed, the web has been buzzing with commentary and reactions, spanning a gamut from alarm to approval.

At JW Player, our viewpoint is that this is an ongoing trend. Facebook changing algorithms isn’t anything new, and this latest change underscores the need for publishers to prioritize their investment in their owned and operated (O&O) video sites more than ever before.

 

Paid traffic isn’t affected

Facebook is certainly driven by improving user engagement, but as a business it’s also focused on increasing paid referrals and profits ($4.7 billion in Q3, a 46% profit margin). One of the first things to remember here is that this change does not affect paid traffic, which has been steadily climbing as a percentage of referrals in the last few years. This trend means that publishers who build on the Facebook platform assuming a free ride via organic traffic or even at predictable marketing costs will continue to be at risk. Think about how the Google Adwords CPC increased over time. Facebook will be no different.

 

Organic traffic is affected

The Facebook algorithm change will impact organic traffic—the volume of visitors coming to a brand through search. Even in this area, the impact hinges on an important factor: the level of audience engagement. Publishers with low user engagement should see a decrease in organic traffic, while those with high user engagement could stand to gain more organic traffic. The question is How good is good enough? The bar may be raised again in the future.

A brand with high user engagement generates more comments, discussions, and likes—all part of what Mark Zuckerberg calls “meaningful social interactions.”

We aren’t critical of this move by Facebook; they are working to create a better Internet. The impact on publishers who rely on organic traffic is clear though, and it’s something that will only continue as time goes on.

 

Creating engaging content on your O&O is key

This trend begs the question: IF you are going to invest in creating engaging content, why wouldn’t you do that on YOUR site?  When Facebook traffic was largely organic, a publisher could debate the value of building on the Facebook platform versus their O&O. But the latest change continues to make that debate less worthwhile.  

By bringing your audiences back to your O&O, you can build a quality experience that exists outside of social media. This move not only fosters more brand loyalty and fills the gaps that Facebook leaves, but it increasingly leads to better monetization due to avoiding Facebook’s revenue share and improving programmatic video options in the market.

So to sum up: Creating engaging content is crucial. Adapting to Facebook’s changes is crucial. But most of all, bringing engagement back to your O&O site is crucial. A video strategy succeeds best when it’s supported by a strong and independent web presence.

 

Bill Day is the COO of JW Player.

 

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