January 15

The Facebook Algorithm: Understanding How the Facebook News Feed Values Content

We’ve seen Facebook transform from a university chat room into one of the largest platforms for international communication. Quips between friends have morphed into invitations to parties and “Find Us On Facebook” has become a standard. We are bombarded by content from all directions, in all forms – advertisements, news stories, office antics, and cats that are too adorable to function. In an effort to de-clutter the constant stream of ideas, Facebook has created a new approach to how our news feeds are populated. This “News Feed Algorithm” is a challenge for digital marketers, but not impossible. As audiences have grown to crave quality content over the quantity of content, Facebook is taking an active stance on providing its members with information they actually want and in which they can find value.

 Like all good algorithms, we have some “knowns”:

  • In November 2014, Facebook announced they would begin actively monitoring News Feed Posts. Promotional posts are defined as posts that solely push people to make a purchase, enter a contest, or use content that is identical to a Page’s ad campaign.
  • Facebook has enabled users to control some of the posts that are shown on their news feeds, which gives good indication of the sources and types of content people want.
  • Clickbait is not effective. If the post explicitly says “like, comment, or share,” the odds of your post getting news feed “ink” instantly decreases.

Other factors that have been observed and seem to increase your post’s visibility on the News Feed may include:

  • Posts with lots of comments AND likes, especially in a small amount of time
  • Posts that are relevant to a trending topic
  • Posts that tag people within their text
  • Original links
  • Posts that are more than text, i.e. include a video, link to external site, or image
  • Posts that your friends have shared, liked, or commented on

The Facebook Algorithm will probably penalize posts that are:

  • Clickbait or link-bait
  • Include spammy links
  • Consistently “Hidden” or “Reported”
  • Overtly promotional
  • Contain the words “like, comment, or share”

All these rules are overwhelming at first glance. If you are a Facebook marketer, your next question might be – “so what CAN I post?” The answer is easy: quality content. Content that is inspirational, intriguing, and inviting.  Social media has transformed into the art of sharing instead of the act of sharing. The Facebook Algorithm acknowledges this shift and is, in fact, acting in the best interest of the audience. Businesses that understand this and the value of quality content will appear more frequently and effectively on their core audience’s news feed, making a stronger brand impact.