5 Things to Know About The Facebook Algorithm

Mark Zuckerberg once said: “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.”

And we think that Facebook’s most powerful feature is undoubted, their news feed algorithm – and it was created as a riddle to challenge our minds.

It collects and analyzes everything posted in the past few days by everyone in your friends’ network. Everyone you follow, each group you belong to, and every Facebook page you’ve liked. For the average user, that’s a lot of posts. And if you have several hundreds of friends, that could be as many as 10,000 posts.

The posts are then ranked according to the constantly shifting formula of the algorithm, and Facebook serves you the feed, in what they believe to be, the precise order of how likely you are to engage with each post. There are hundreds of thousands of factors that influence what is shown in the Feed, but in this article, we’ll take a closer look at its four key elements:

1. Author of Facebook Post

Family and friends go first. Sorry, marketers, but that’s just the way it should be in the Facebook world. People whose posts you’ve been proactively engaged in (liked, commented, and most importantly shared) will appear in News Feed first. Typically, that includes your siblings, spouse, immediate family, partners, and friends – the beloved ones.

2.  Recency

Certain studies we looked at, show that you’ll have a much higher chance of being seen if you post during these time periods. It’s better to publish 5 times per week, not to be annoying, but still be around.

You can experiment by posting outside those slots, however, you’ll have to use new content formats, such as Live video or 360 (photo and video).

Wednesday through Sunday will have the most interactions. According to BuzzSumo’s detailed analysis of more than 800 million posts from 2016, Sunday is the day to post if you want to achieve the best engagement.

More recent posts have slightly higher chances of being ranked at the top. However, Facebook also analyzes the date when you last checked the news feed and will rank older posts higher if you haven’t refreshed since they were posted.

3. Content format

The News Feed analyzes both, your behaviour, and the content, including its format. Basically, if you react more to videos, you will see more videos. If you don’t react to someone’s profile update, you will not see as many of them. Facebook is the greatest matchmaker, isn’t it?

Here’s a list of the most engaging content formats (Facebook also develops its own formats and promotes its rankings):

There are lots of users who try to lure their readers out of Facebook to their websites/blogs/youtube channels etc.  Certainly, Facebook does not like that, but here is what SMM gurus say about how to make Facebook readers click on external links:

When you post something from the list above, the feedback you receive in the first 30 minutes, greatly influences the trend. So if you want everyone on Facebook to know about your daughter’s dog’s birthday, share the post with everyone at the office, and ask your coworkers to ‘Like it’. Make sure you give them 30 minutes to do that.

4. Interest in the post

The more people react to, or interact with your post, the higher the reach, the more visibility it achieves. Sharing is the most important form of interaction, simply because it gets you into the news feeds of users outside of your network.

Reactions and comments to a post are also highly ranked. Using surveys, posting your real-life stories, and replying to people’s comments are a good way to increase your own visibility.

A few other  important elements that influence the algorithm:

  1. Speed of replying to comments
  2. Number of external links per post
  3. Average time spent on video
  4. Fake content
  5. Time user spent outside Facebook after clicking on external link

Perfect Facebook Post 

The main tactic to becoming the ‘King of News Feed Visibility’ is to post what people like, and not what you want them to like. It should be a treat for your audience’s eyes (quality videos & cool pictures) and soul (positive, funny content, real information).

Remember two things:

  • Facebook gives preference to new formats (Live videos, 360 videos)
  • Facebook wants users to stay in (thus, a higher priority for instant articles and lower priority for external links)

Above all, as my colleagues at IO always say, “Never stop experimenting!” Luckily, we have all the analytics tools you need to track results and to make your business decisions easier, and with confidence. The last thing I’d like to share with you is the link to the Facebook blog where all the updates are announced. Stay tuned!

Author: Roxanna Voitovych is an experienced Customer Success Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. She’s skilled in business planning, analytical skills, international relations, market research, and management.