June 23, 2014, 4:49 PM

Facebook revamps the news feed to increase video’s importance

The social network says it will serve more videos to users who tend to watch videos. That’s a growing number of consumers, because twice as many people watch videos on Facebook than did so just six months ago.

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Facebook's new video metrics

Facebook Inc. is making videos even more important to marketers.

The social network today announced that it is revamping the algorithm that decides what users see in their news feeds by considering whether someone has watched a video and for how long they watched it.

The change means consumers who watch videos on Facebook—uploaded directly by brands or their friends—will likely see more videos in their news feeds. And the number of users who watch videos on Facebook is rapidly growing; the social network says twice as many people watch videos on Facebook than did so just six months ago. However, consumers who tend to skip over videos will likely see fewer videos as a result of the change.

“Our goal is to better understand what videos people are interested in watching, so that relevant videos appear more prominently in news feed,” writes Brett Welch, Facebook product manager, and Xiaochen Zhang, software engineer, in a blog post.

In testing the change, Facebook found that the revamped news feed algorithm resulted in more users watching more videos that are relevant to them.

The new algorithm will show more often videos that people choose to watch, while it shows less frequently videos that many people ignore.

The move comes only a little more than a month after Facebook began adding metrics enabling retailers and brands to better determine how consumers view videos uploaded to the social network.

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