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What Is Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm?

Facebook have recently announced changes to the way the algorithm that ranks stories in users news feeds works. Why should I care, I hear you ask?

Well, this is great news for marketers, as it gives us a greater insight into how Facebook ranks what we post. If you’re sitting there wondering what the hell I’m going on about, fear not, all will become clear.

Essentially, Facebook chooses which stories to display to each individual user by using a complex algorithm based on three elements: affinity, weight and time. This means that your posts are not guaranteed to be seen by every single person who likes your page. In fact, only around 17% of your fans (on average) will see your posts! 

Whilst 17% may seem disastrously low, if you consider that every time a user visits their Facebook homepage there are approximately 1500 posts that they could potentially see, it becomes clear why Facebook needs to prioritise posts to ensure that they are given information that is relevant, interesting and from people and pages that they care about.

So in practice how does it work?

Well, if a user has previously liked or commented on posts by a page or a friend, they are more likely to see future posts from that page or friend. On the other hand, if a user has liked a page or befriended someone and there has been little or no interaction between the two, chances are they won’t see many, if any, posts from that page or friend. 

Secondly, the type of content posted also plays a part. So in theory, videos are more likely to be displayed than photos, which are generally more likely to be displayed than status updates. That said, a status update which has achieved a large number of likes and comments will be seen by Facebook as having a greater weight and can be shunted to the top of a user’s newsfeed ahead of a video with no comments or likes. 

Finally, and the part which Facebook has recently announced changes to, is how the age of posts is taken into account by the algorithm.

Naturally, as posts get older the content becomes less relevant and for that reason they are less likely to be considered by Facebook as worthy enough to appear in a user’s newsfeed. However, the recent changes mean that organic posts which receive lots of comments and likes and that a user did not ‘scroll down far enough to see’ will now be able to reappear at the top of a user’s newsfeed later on that day. 

So what does this mean for you? Well, its good news because it means if you have a post that proves popular it’s more likely to be seen by an even larger audience, and you don’t have to pay for the privilege! It should also be even more of an incentive then before for you to get your creative head on and think of new and exciting content to post on a regular basis that your fans will like.

If you want to speak to one of the team at Livelink about Facebook Algorithms and how we can help you expand your Facebook presence, drop us a line.