Facebook’s Updated News Feed Algorithm: What It Means For Marketing

By Lauren @BubbleJobs

For quite a long time now, marketers and social media managers have been left in the dark by Facebook over why some posts appear above others, and it’s the same for personal use. Never have the social media giants explained why some ads appear in your news feed, or why status updates from friends never do.

But that all changed last week as they took to their business blog to reveal the latest updates to their algorithms that determine what is worth your precious Facebook viewing time.

While the updates have been talked to death, this blog will focus on what the updates mean for us social media managers, and how strategies will have to be tweaked to accommodate the changes.

You could have heard some whoops and cheers coming from social media managers in offices across the globe as Facebook were finally transparent about how news feed posts are ranked, giving us a much-needed insight into how they work.

It’s out with the old and in with the new, with the old EdgeRank algorithm being replaced by a new system with three updates: Story Bumping, Last Actor and Last Actor Chronological.

While EdgeRank focused on things like the relationship between a viewer and creator of a post, the content of a post and how old it is, this new algorithm seems to care more about engagement, engagement, engagement.

A pretty shocking statistic that Facebook rolled out during its announcement was that every time someone visits their news feed there are, on average, 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and pages, but a only a measly 300 of these show up on the feed due to the algorithm.

This makes it even more important for social media managers to be on the ball with these updates to make sure their posts don’t get sucked into the black hole of rejected Facebook posts never to be seen again!

So, let me talk you through the updates and what you can do to ensure your posts are in as many news feeds as humanly possible!

 

facebook fans

Story Bumping

This update means that stories that are relevant to a user that may have been missed first time round will get pushed up above ones that have already been seen. For example, if you post a story on your page that has a bunch of comments or likes but someone who normally engages with your posts was too busy in their local café eating lunch to check it out when it was posted – fear not! Story Bumping will, as the name suggests, bump your story up to the top of their news feed so they won’t miss your amazing bit of content.

This is a great move by Facebook as it scraps the dodgy Time Decay aspect of EdgeRank and has proven results. Facebook revealed that this update saw a 5% increase in likes, comments and shares on stories from pages, and an increase from 57% to 70% of stories read on a user’s news feed.

So what does this mean for marketers? Well, it’s now more important than ever to sustain engagement with fans and encourage more interaction as the only stories that get bumped up will be ones that have already had some engagement increasing their rank score.

The update is only effective on web platforms at the moment, but will be rolled out onto mobile in the near future.

 

Last Actor

Last Actor is another interaction-focused update that looks at a user’s last 50 Facebook interactions and boosts the ranking of the people and pages they have engaged with.

This means that one-off engagements by fans is no longer enough, as the more they interact with your page, the more likely it is that your content will appear more regularly on their news feeds.

While impressions and reach statistics are still important, it’s all about engagement again! Ask your audience questions, encourage them to take part in polls, fill in the blanks, share experiences.

 

Chronological By Actor

This next update will be implemented sometime in the future, and is a glimpse into how Facebook intends to jump on the Twitter real-time bandwagon in its news feed.

Chronological By Actor will collate stories by a singular user relevant to the viewer and post them in chronological order at the top of its news feed.

The update is still a shaky one, as Facebook admitted that this ended up with less user engagement so is still in the testing process. It’s a risky move for marketers too, who will really have to crack down on their posting to make sure they are not grouped together and avoid a decrease in individual post engagement.

So there you have it – the how-to of Facebook’s new algorithm! However, as with all social media, not all advice is perfect for all businesses. The best way to find out what’s right for your company is trial and error, but I hope this has given you more insight into how you can make the new algorithm work for you!

What do you think of the algorithm changes, and how will you adapt your strategy to accommodate it? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @BubbleJobs 🙂

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