The “Fake-Video Fallout” is real. And It Can Hurt Your Social Reputation on Facebook & YouTube.
I have been reading multiple articles from reliable resources that talk about how Facebook is aggressively down-ranking posts with fake videos, where it’s just a static image or even just a few static images, and is basically a fake shell of a video put on top of an audio file. Same thing with YouTube as well.
Both Facebook and YouTube are seeing that these fake-videos are actually getting very little engagement and hit actually annoys users on their platforms.
They’re starting to think of it as an almost-spammy technique for tricking users into clicking on a video that’s not really a video.
So that means, my Facebook posts and YouTube videos start getting downranked. And if I keep posting it over and over again, then eventually both Facebook and YouTube will start downranking ANY content I post, not just the ones with fake-videos. Which means my Facebook posts reach fewer friends in my network (I know, can it really go any lower?), and my YouTube videos slide down further and further in searches.
In the year or so that I’ve been using this automated fake-video posting feature, I have hardly been getting a handful of views, and even less engagement. And because a lot of podcasters are doing this in the hopes of getting at least one new listener, I can see people getting annoyed by these fake-videos, and engaging with them less and less. And just because you get a bunch of views on your videos doesn’t necessarily mean you got real people who watched them. Remember, Facebook counts a 3-second view, even as someone is scrolling through their feed (if they have autoplay, of course) as a “View”. At least YouTube waits for 30 seconds before calling it that.
So if you got 30 views on your fake-video on Facebook or YouTube, it doesn’t mean someone actually watched it. And actually, those numbers could actually be misleading many of us into thinking that oh, I got 30 people watch this, so it must be working, right?
I’ve come to the conclusion that as much as I love the idea of “one listener at a time”, a handful of people engaging with my fake videos are not worth the overall reputation-hit on my profile on both Facebook and YouTube. I have to keep the big-picture in mind and I am not willing to do anything that could even remotely hurt the organic reach of my content on these social platforms, for the occasional new listener or fan (something that is hit-and-miss as a concept at best).
So whether it is a fake “static-image” video, or a fake “live” video (where you’re showing something static on your screen and turning that into a live-video just to game the system and get more attention as you know that both YouTube and Facebook promote Live videos when they’re actually live) anything that is unnaturally created with the intention of manipulating the viewer to believe that it’s something that it’s truly not, is going to be eventually tracked down and cracked down, and my social presence is far too important for me to take any kind of a hit. So I’ve stopped all such automated posts, and I will be going back into my Facebook feed and delete some of the older fake-video posts as well.
Do actual, real, live videos, and even upload edited, well-produced pre-recorded videos, even if they’re just 30 seconds or 3 minutes long.
A real video with a real person talking is actually what both Facebook and YouTube want.
Audiograms with moving audio-waveform images and words-appearing-on-screen-as-you-speak-them are still exponentially better than a 20-minute or 60-minute fake-video with just one static image. Audiograms are especially effective on Twitter and Instagram.
But still, at the end of the day, it might be considered as just another form of content manipulation, something that’s never going to be as engaging as a real person on camera, whether that is live or pre-recorded.
So I’m going to be doing tid-bit live videos, even if they’re less than 60 seconds long, which has the full support and encouragement of both Facebook and YouTube.
And if it’s less than 60 seconds, I can then also post it on Instagram and Twitter, and also use the shorter “trailer” versions on my Facebook feed, Pages, Groups, and YouTube. A decently produced, quick 60-second trailer of my podcast, or a curated clip of my show with me actually saying it on-camera, or a deliberately produced trailer where I just talk about the best parts of my show and turn it into a real, person-on-camera video, is going to be exponentially more engaging, impactful and useful for my audience, than any kind of manipulated fake-video.
So that’s my focus going forward. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Stay tuned in this post for an audio episode about this subject, as well as a number of different topics that are relevant to podcasters.
In the meantime, please check out my podcast, “SubscribeMe”, where I talk about membership sites and online courses.
Here’s the full playlist from my podcast (more “fake-video” resources after the playlist below)