23 Apr The Secrets Behind Facebook’s Algorithm
Since Facebook shifted its focus on how its algorithm determined newsfeed content last year, it is becoming increasingly harder for businesses to reach and engage with their audiences. Did you know for example, that someone who ‘likes’ your Facebook page but hasn’t engaged (liked, clicked, shared or commented) with any of your content recently, tells Facebook that they are no longer interested in your business? Facebook’s algorithm will then show less (and sometimes none at all) of your posts to them unless they show interest again.
Facebook’s algorithm is essentially a process where AI ranks posts and determines where they are placed in users’ newsfeeds based on the likelihood of them responding positively to content. The algorithm considers your user behaviour, i.e. particular posts you click on, then shows you most content based on your interests. Facebook want you to stay on their platform and will therefore show you more of what you like, and less of what you don’t. Gone are the days of chronological newsfeeds! They also check the validity of website links to ensure that the link corresponds correctly with the post content.
The algorithm does change from time to time, but there have been no significant changes since last year. Last year’s announcement from Mark Zuckerberg highlighted an increased priority given to content from family, friends and groups over business posts. There are several considerations Facebook’s algorithm makes when it decides what content is shown to users. The 4 main ones are the following;
SIGNALS – Arguably one of the most important factors as this focuses on user behaviour such as what you’ve liked, shared or commented on, as well as engagement of friend activity and messenger activity (posts/links shared into here). There are a whole lot more here, but the above are the main ones to consider.
PREDICTIONS – Assumptions Facebook makes about your profile, i.e. age, location, employment status, as well as previous behaviours.
SCORE/RELEVANCE – Content is scored on its value and relevance to a user.
INVENTORY – What content is available to the user (organic and sponsored).
For businesses, the biggest consideration you should make is how relevant and engaging your content is. Put your audience at the heart of your content. Give them content that inspires, entertains or educates them. Why should they read your post, and more importantly make sure you involve them in posts. Facebook is all about encouraging ‘meaningful conversations’. Ask them their opinions, open a conversation to encourage post comments and Facebook will in turn increase the relevance of your content.
The future… Earlier this year Facebook hinted at an increased focus on Facebook (and Instagram) Stories and Messenger. The platform are continually trialling new features such as being able to swipe Facebook posts as with Stories, and Stories will eventually find themselves within the actual newsfeed, perhaps even replacing the whole newsfeed format! There are more options on Messenger for businesses to take advantage of, such as being able to book appointments, and set up tailored automated bots to answer customer questions without you having to. A glimpse into the future also hints upon the use of virtual reality, as well as Facebook, Messenger and Whatsapp being merged into one platform. What, when, where, how? It will be interesting to see how this develops.
One final thing to note is that while Facebook once attracted a younger demographic, its users have aged significantly over its 15 year run. Nowadays less 18-24 year olds make up the user demographic, while over 55’s are on the up.
If your Facebook content has taken a dip and you’re struggling to get your engagement and following back up, take the above algorithm factors into consideration for your strategy. Good luck!