Facebook is a place for sharing, and when I say sharing, that encompasses a little bit of everything. Some good, some not so good. Family vacations, new adventures, uplifting stories and quotes…good. Political views, personal/private details of your home life and marriage, negativity in general…not so good.

So you would think topics concerning nutrition, fitness, and health issues would be a positive thing. Unfortunately, Facebook has been bombarded with misleading ads that are false, outlandish, and prey on vulnerable users when it comes to losing weight or solving health problems. Back in 2013, Jezebel published a post which looked at some of the worst Facebook ads, and among them were numerous weight loss ‘cures’.

Facebook is now taking action against them, with two new News Feed algorithm updates designed to reduce the reach of ads that promote miracle health claims.

As explained by Facebook:
“In our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of information in News Feed, we consider ranking changes based on how they affect people, publishers and our community as a whole. We know that people don’t like posts that are sensational or spammy, and misleading health content is particularly bad for our community. So, last month we made two ranking updates to reduce (1) posts with exaggerated or sensational health claims and (2) posts attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims.
For the first update, we consider if a post about health exaggerates or misleads – for example, making a sensational claim about a miracle cure. For the second, we consider if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim – for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.”

So how does Facebook weed out such content?

“We handled this in a similar way to how we’ve previously reduced low-quality content like clickbait: by identifying phrases that were commonly used in these posts to predict which posts might include sensational health claims or promotion of products with health-related claims, and then showing these lower in News Feed. We’ll continue working to minimize low-quality health content on Facebook.”

How will this affect users?

For most of us we should see less of those outlandish ads with miracle cures, weight loss creams, and fake photos. That’s great news! If you are a company who posts questionable health claims, you should probably stop.

The second Facebook update involves video. It’s obvious that content containing video performs exceptionally well because it humanizes your brand and helps the viewer understand what they’re seeing easier than in written text. With the introduction of Watch and Stories, Facebook has shown priority for video in its news feed algorithm.

They are now taking that a step further. In an update release Monday, David Miller, Product Management Director at Facebook, revealed updates to Facebook’s video ranking algorithm. The goal of this is to help video content creators “find their audience and build profitable video businesses on Facebook.”

What is changing in the Facebook Algorithm?

Facebook will now reward you for creating video content that brings in repeat views. That funny clip or favorite recipe that you watch over and over, it will benefit tremendously from this update. Duration was also mentioned in the algorithm, noting that three-minute videos typically perform best and those that capture the attention span for at least one-minute will be higher ranked. Basically, Facebook wants to make sure you’re creating valuable content that users actually use. Lastly, the algorithm update is going to be de-prioritizing pages that simply share videos and don’t upload original content.

Why It Matters to Marketers

If you are thinking about investing in Facebook video, now is the time! Your video strategy should reflect the new algorithm changes, specifically hitting the three-minute timeframe that Facebook is looking for.
If you do not align with what Facebook wants your video content to be, you’re missing out on potentially valuable brand awareness and leads. And, you could be wasting effort on videos that don’t get attention.


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