facebook-algorithm

Decoding the Facebook Algorithm

As a marketer, the importance of Facebook is undeniable; however, the application of it can be hair-pulling at best and down-right tantrum producing at worst. What makes one post the talk of the town, and the next one an utter flop perplexes even the most skilled marketers at times. The magic behind the Russian roulette of Facebook posts is the almighty powerful Facebook algorithm. An algorithm is a formula or set of steps used for solving a particular problem. Facebook uses its algorithm to sort, sift and make sense of the huge number of posts that are created each day to ensure the user experience is one that is useful and enjoyable.

Facebook’s algorithm ranks posts using the following four steps:

Inventory- What posts are available at the current time to show

Signals- Looking at available data called signals, Facebook ranks the content. Data is pulled from who posted the story, the current time, what device it was posted with and how much time is spent reading a particular post.

Predictions- Using these signals, Facebook makes predictions based on what you will do with the post (how likely you are to comment, like or share).

Score- Facebook assigns each post a score based on all of these things, this score dictates the posts that are displayed in a newsfeed.

As a marketer managing client’s Facebook accounts, yielding top results for clients is a priority. Maximizing Facebook reach and enhancing engagement are important metrics that clients expect in the age of social media. Facebook will look for the following characteristics when assigning a relevance score to a post:

  • Who posted the story, how often they post and is there any negative feedback on the page or author?
  • How engaging the post is, how much time is spent on the content, and how many tags, comments and shares does it have?
  • The completeness of the page profile
  • Who generated the post, a friend or a business page?
  • How informative is the post?

All of these things impact the probability of a post being seen; the more engagement, the quality of the user, how useful and informative the post is, and how close the post creator is to the user will dictate relevance score and likeness to be seen by a given Facebook user. Friends and family posts are favoured over business page posts.

What Facebook likes

Creating content that is relevant, valuable and interesting is key to appearing organically in news feeds. Ensuring posts are informative, promote engagement, are positive in nature and are free of errors is important. It is proven that pages with a consistent posting schedule outperform ones that post randomly and sporadically.

Here are some things that the Facebook algorithm favours:

  • Posts with lots of likes, comments and shares (even better if it’s in a short period of time)
  • Posts with engagement from close friends
  • Posts that have other pages tagged
  • Posts with an active and engaged audience, creating a brand ambassador program or influencer marketing program is ideal for this
  • Links in posts
  • Users tend to prefer status updates, photos and videos the most
  • Videos uploaded to Facebook that get a large number of views or longer viewing session rank well (according to a 2016 Quintly study videos received a 109.67 percent higher interaction rate and 477.76 percent higher share rate).
  • Posts mentioning a trending topic
  • Posts from pages with complete profile information

What Facebook doesn’t like

Just as the Facebook algorithm favours certain types of posts, it also penalizes posts that don’t conform with its overarching values and mission. The following posts types and actions will negatively effect relevancy score and ensure your posts are at the end of the browsing queue.

  • Posts that are clickbait (click a link to take to another website)
  • Like-baiting, trying to get likes without providing useful content
  • Posts with spammy links
  • Repeated posts
  • Text-only posts or status updates
  • Posts that are hidden by users or are reported
  • Posts that ask for engagement (likes, shares, comments)
  • Over promotional posts

Recent Algorithm changes

Facebook is consistently updating its algorithms to ensure the user experience is high and to evolve with the changing landscape of social media. Here are some recent changes in 2017 that affect what people see and how they engage with Facebook content:

August 2017

  • Pages sharing false news can no longer run Facebook ads
  • Posts that pretend to be videos will be demoted
  • Posts with slow loading links will be shown less

May 2017

  • Posts with click-bate headlines will rank lower
  • Posts that link to low- quality websites will rank lower

January 2017

  • Authentic and timely posts will receive a better
  • Long engaging videos will rank better than short engaging videos

Staying up to date with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm is imperative to ensuring you are delivering the best results to your clients. By ensuring content is relevant, timely, informative and engaging, utilizing videos and having a solid page presence and well functioning website are all fundamentals to hitting home runs on Facebook. Cloud9 Marketing are experts in Whistler BC on everything social media, any questions about Facebook algorithms or to see our social media management packages, make sure to contact us.