Facebook is making real-time content more visible in its News Feed after confirming that live videos will feature more prominently, giving users a greater chance of viewing these videos while they are currently in progress. Facebook claims that people now spend more than three times the amount of time watching live video compared to standard, saved videos.
The new ranking algorithm is set to roll out this week and follows the launch of the Facebook Live video broadcasting feature to Android users last week. The service has been popular with celebrities since they were first granted access last August, and Facebook recently opened real-time content to brands too, giving them another key marketing channel. Verified Pages on the social site can now launch live events by navigating to “publish” and selecting “live video.”
The latest changes mean that live video will now be placed higher on the priority list, so users will see more of this type of content at the top of their News Feed. Facebook said it now considers live videos to be a new digital content type and that it had been learning from signals how to rank them appropriately. The tech giant added that live streaming has become “more and more popular” in recent months.
“As a first step, we are making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live,” Facebook Product Manager Vibhi Kant said in a blog post. “People spend more than three times more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live. This is because Facebook Live videos are more interesting in the moment than after the fact.”
The higher-profile distribution of these videos could make Facebook a more attractive advertising option for media companies, brands and celebrities when compared to the Twitter-owned Periscope due to its larger potential audience. Facebook also appears to be focusing more on real-time content, as a report last week claimed CEO Mark Zuckerberg is currently “obsessed” with live video.