Facebook’s Algorithm: What you Can and Can’t See
As you probably know by now, Facebook’s algorithm determines what you can see on your News Feed. Basically, this formula decides whether (or not) your content is accessible to your followers.
How it works
Each time you log in to Facebook, an average of 1500 posts from friends or Pages that you follow are available to you. There is quite a bit of content that won’t pop up on your Feed, and therefore, this algorithm was created to protect users from being flooded with irrelevant content.
In 2009, Facebook began displaying posts in real-time, and with this feature, the deluge of content became unbearable. So, in the next year, Facebook introduced the EdgeRank.
Σ – the sum of all interaction that may appear in the newsfeed (like, comment, new status, marking etc.)
u – the factor that determines how close you are with the person / Page. This variable grows according to how much you interact with the Page and the number of mutual friends.
w – the weight of individual interactions. For example, new comments carry more weight than Likes.
d – factors in the time the content was published. The older the post, the less relevant it is.
The algorithm is constantly changing
Brands have developed different strategies on how to make the most of EdgeRank, but many of these practices had negative effects on the user experience. It is quite clear that ads on Facebook are bolstered when new users view it. Therefore, Facebook modifies the algorithm in order to maintain an environment that is as friendly as possible for users, in this case, by allowing ads to fade from the Feed. Here is an overview of several updates made for the algorithm:
August 2013 – Based on 1,000 different factors, evaluated the quality of the content posted on the Pages.
December 2013 – Facebook noticed that many people use the site to keep track of the most current news events, and thus began offering links to quality sites through the Related Articles section.
January 2014 – Text only statuses from friends were considered. It was found that the more text statuses from friends that a person saw, the more they posted themselves. This, however, does not apply to the company.
February 2014 – Referrals to other Pages were implemented. If Pages are mentioned in someone’s status, it is likely that users that with similar tastes would see the Page’s content, and not only be accessible to fans of the branded Page.
August 2014 – End of click-bit. But now this is about to change…
September 2014 – Tracking trends. Facebook realized that some posts had their 15 minutes of fame, but then died off. Because of this, they started to how much engagement the posts received, putting “trending” posts highest in the News Feed.
November 2014 – No more annoying ads! People were fed up with posts from sites aimed directly at selling their products. In addition to sanctioning annoying content, organic reach was reduced for sites that recycle their content.
How do we use it?
If you’re the admin of a company’s Facebook Page, it’s certainly a good idea to get inline with what the company likes. Here are some likes and dislikes:
What you can see in the News Feed:
Posts with many comments
The type of content that users love (videos, photos …)
Posts that relate current issues
Posts that reach a large number of interactions in a short time
Posts with references
Videos uploaded directly to Facebook
Posts mentioning another page
Posts that friends have commented on
Posts from Pages you frequently interact with
Posts from people who often interact
Posts from profiles whose information is completely filled out
Posts from tPages whose fan base overlaps with other quality sites
Links that were not previously posted
What Facebook tries to take out of your News Feed:
Frequently recurring content / repetitive posts
Text statuses from brand Pages
Posts that are often hidden or reported
Posts that contain words such as “Like, Comment, Share …”
Posts with unusually high engagement (suspected to like-bits)
Posts that are identified as memes
Posts that invite you to purchase a product, application, service or calling to enter the contest or sweepstakes
So, there you have it. Consider what’s which content is most likely to show up in News Feeds and create a strategy that reaches the most fans.