Facebook Strikes Again

Facebook just announced another change to the algorithm that determines what people see in their news feed, and this is the 3rd major change to the Facebook algorithm in the past few months!

But the latest update shouldn’t greatly impact your posting strategy — not like the change that killed click-baiting.

Here’s the lowdown.

The Facebook Algorithm Changes, AGAIN!.. Here’s the Scoop

The newest algorithm change was announced in a blog post by Eric Owens, a software engineer at Facebook:

Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. We’ve heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show. There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore. Our latest update to News Feed ranking looks at two new factors to determine if a story is more important in the moment than other types of updates.

1. Trending Topics

The first change deals with posts about “trending topics”.

For example, if you & your friends are posting about the Dallas Cowboys game on TV, you’re more likely to see those posts in your news feed as a trending topic.

One way we show timely content higher-up in News Feed is to show people stories about things that are trending as soon as they occur, so you can immediately know what your friends or favorite Pages are saying about the stories of the day. This means that when a friend or Page you are connected to posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner. Early testing of a small percentage of posts has shown that this update on average leads to a more than 6% increase in people engaging with these stories (e.g., more people share, comment, like or click).

2. Timing of Likes & Comments

The next new Facebook algorithm change considers when people Like or comment on a post:

Currently one of the signals we look at is the total number of likes that a post has received when determining how high up to show it in News Feed. With this update, we are going to begin looking at when people are choosing to like, comment and share.

If people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests that the post was most interesting at the time it was posted, but potentially less interesting at a later date. Based on this signal it is more likely to appear higher in News Feed earlier on and lower at a later date.

So instead of looking just at the Like count of a post, Facebook now considers when people Liked & commented on the post when deciding whether to show the post at the top of the news feed.

I’m sure you recall that Facebook recently introduced a feature called story bumping. Story bumping causes older posts to appear at the top of the news feed when your friends interact with the content.

Here’s Facebook’s take:

Bumping is when we resurface stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see but are still getting lots of engagement. This is one more way that we’re working to identify timely posts so we can show them nearer the top of your News Feed sooner.

Hopefully this makes the news feed better by making the content you see on Facebook more timely & relevant.

How this Affects Your Facebook Business Page

Most Facebook pages probably won’t see much change in reach as a result of these algorithm updates.

But Facebook did say this about trending topics:

If a Page posts about a trending topic or if a post sees a high velocity of engagement early on that then drops off, that post may begin to see increased distribution early on and less distribution over time. Pages should keep producing great content that is relevant and resonates with their audience.

What I fear from this announcement is that pages will start posting updates that have nothing to do with the business.

For example, a local bakery might post a link to a beheading video just to game the news feed.

Would that post appear at the top of the news feed? Maybe. So play it safe.

According to Facebook, you should stick to posting strong content that’s relevant to your audience — not try to game the news feed algorithm.