Videos are taking up more and more space on our social networks. The latest example is Instagram, which has decided to follow in the footsteps of TikTok by putting video reels at the heart of its strategy.

In fact, according to an internal Meta study, Instagram users spend 20% of their time on the social network viewing reels. On Facebook, this figure rises to 50%.

However, as you may have noticed, some videos appear more often or are highlighted on Facebook and Instagram by the Meta Group.

This is actually due to algorithms, which play a leading role in the highlighting of these videos. In a statement published on its website, Meta explains (in a bid for transparency) how its algorithms highlight videos on its social networks.

We will try to break down how these algorithms define which videos are highlighted:

1) Originality: For Meta’s algorithms, original content means it is native and created specifically for the American giant’s platforms. According to Meta’s press release: “To reward creators and publishers who are dedicated to creating and promoting authentic, quality content, we prioritize video content associated with strong originality signals.”

2) Attract and retain attention: Meta takes into consideration the retention rate of videos and their ability to hold the attention of your audience until the end. “Videos that attract the attention of the audience and encourage people to watch until the end are more likely to be broadcast on Facebook”. Meta even shares some helpful tips on how to do this:

  • Give importance to the narrative structure of the video
  • Create content optimized for mobile viewing
  • Improve production quality

3) Loyalty and intent: For Meta, it’s important that your audience returns to your page often to see if new content has been posted. “When viewers regularly watch videos from an account, it sends a strong, positive signal that the content is being delivered. This is especially the case when we notice that viewers are actively searching for your content or want to watch it on dedicated video destinations like Facebook Watch or directly on your account,” the release explains.

To achieve this, Meta provides some tips to follow:

  • Publish bonus content in between your regular posts to stay connected with your audience and keep them excited.
  • Optimize your content for Facebook search with clear titles and relevant tags.

4) Interactions: For Meta, the engagement rate of your videos is extremely important in order to be promoted. “We prioritize content that generates interesting conversations and interactions between real people” explains the American giant.

For Meta, there are certain things not to do under penalty of being punished by its algorithms. Here are a couple examples of things not to do:

  • Do not make videos that look like slideshows.
  • Avoid using artificial sharing methods. That means you need to make sure that your content is never spread artificially through re-shares or shares within a group.
  • Don’t employ artificial interaction boosters or share watchbait (a video that intentionally hides information, sensationalizes content or entices viewers to watch or participate).
  • Avoid using click traps, which involves drawing  attention and enticing visitors to click on a link by intentionally omitting crucial information.