The Facebook algorithm is a process that Facebook uses to decide which content its users see first in their timelines. Long gone are the days of chronological feeds.
The following are four factors used by the social network to rank and display content:
1. The Inventory of all posts available to display.
2. Signals that tell Facebook what each post is.
3. Predictions on how you will react to each post.
4. A Final Score assigned to the content based on all factors considered.
In this blog post, our social media marketing course and training experts help you understand how the Facebook algorithm works and how you can navigate it to build a prominent social media presence for your business.
2018: A Year of Facebook Algorithm Changes | Social Media Corporate Training
Since the Cambridge Analytica Scandal hit the roof in 2017, Facebook has worked to improve transparency around how it ranks content in its News Feed. Based on the information the social network provided in its in F8 conferences, News Feed webinars, and algorithm presentations, we can now say, without hesitation, that the ranking algorithm is no longer a black box.
In January 2018, Facebook took action by eliminating the appearance of fake news on the platform. The aim was to reclaim trust in the user base and to reaffirm Facebook as a platform for meaningful social interaction.
Great! No more political articles about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders or the like. No more articles published by Russian diplomats to try to influence elections, either.
Unfortunately for businesses and publishers using the Facebook to share their content, particularly through paid ads program, this meant a huge drop in visibility and traffic. The new algorithm made it more difficult for corporate advertisers to pay and display their content to users in their news feeds. Instead, the new algorithm favoured native posts from users, particularly those with high engagement.
On November 15, Facebook announced yet another algorithm change. The latest algorithm update demoted “borderline content” (clickbaits). That is content that is sensationalist, intentionally provocative, and that violates Facebook’s content policies. In a blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that people naturally engage with sensationalist content. Engagement with this content, he says, increases the closer it gets to being controversial. In taking steps to distribute less provocative news, Zuckerberg believed that people would be discouraged from creating this kind of content in the first place, which would ultimately lead to a better user experience for its users.
The 4 News Feed Ranking Factors | Digital Marketing Corporate Training
How Facebook’s news feeds are ordered and presented based on four factors: inventory, signals, predictions, and score.
Inventory refers to all the available content on Facebook, whether it is posts written by friends and family members or updates and shares issued by groups you joined and pages you liked.
Signals are used by Facebook to select content that will appear on users’ news feeds. There is a list of criteria that the social network follows when determining whether or not the piece of information that is being shared is news feed worthy. We listed all the ones we felt were important, with the bolded ones being more crucial than others.
- Comments and likes on a person’s status or photo
- Engagement with published content posted by friends
- Shares on Messenger and other social networks
- Replies to comments on a video
- Who posted the content
- What time of the day the post was made
- What time is it now
- Technology (e.g., mobile or desktop) used to post the material
- Content type (e.g., image post, video post, text post)
- How useful the content is to the user
- Completeness of a profile
Facebook tries to predict the content that will engage users by reviewing their profile information and previous activities. The social network attempts to work out how likely users are to like or share the content being shared by businesses or friends. It is worth noting a Pew Research Center study found 27% of people still think the algorithm gets them wrong…which calls into question the entire ranking factor.
Score is the final number assigned to a piece of content by Facebook, based on the likelihood the users will respond positively to it. The higher the score, the more likely it will appear in the feed. Obviously this means content will get different scores for individual people.
How the 4 Ranking Factors are Used in Prioritizing What’s on Your News Feed
With all content on Facebook being issued score based on criteria such as engagements, relevancy, and signals, Facebook uses it to order its feed for each individual user.
The score is unique for each user and is based on their habits and interests, plus how their connections interact with the content. This means there is a lot going on behind the scenes before a viewer sees an article or a status update from a friend or business page. In turn, as you interact with these items in your feed, Facebook will use this data in the future to continuously tailor the content you see on the platform.
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