A quarter of the world (1.9 billion people) uses Facebook every day, looking for interesting, relevant, and enjoyable content. So, it should surprise no one that 66% of small businesses in the United States and 93% of marketers worldwide are on the platform, aiming to grow their brands.
If you’re on Facebook right now, there’s one thing you need to understand to achieve success on the platform: The Facebook Algorithm.
We’ve seen almost 70 changes to the Facebook Algorithm (aka the FB Algorithm) since it launched the Facebook News Feed in 2006. The algorithm is learning—and we have to learn more about it to get more results out of our Facebook marketing efforts.
Read on, and see what goes into the complex, fascinating formulas of the Facebook News Feed.
How the Facebook News Feed Algorithm Works in 2021
The Facebook News Feed Algorithm was created so that the social media platform shows users more interesting content and keeps them on the platform longer. So naturally, the Algorithm values what users value:
- “Meaningful, informative stories”;
- “Accurate, authentic content”; and
- “Safe, respectful behavior.”
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The News Feed Algorithm learns from individual user behavior, so everyone’s News Feed looks different. It goes through four steps to determine which pieces of content are most important to you and how they should arrange your News Feed.
Step 1: Taking inventory
The Algorithm looks at all the content that could possibly show up on your newsfeed, meaning posts created by your friends and family, ads, and posts from the pages you follow.
Step 2: Looking at signals
The second thing the Algorithm does is look at a set of signals to determine how relevant a piece of content will be to the user:
- When it was posted
- Who posted it
- How much you interact with the poster
- What kind of content it is (e.g. link, photo, or video)
- How you interact with similar posts
- What time it is for you (as you are scrolling)
- How fast your internet connection is
The Algorithm observes your behavior and figures out what you like based on the signals you provide. For example, if you constantly interact with your best friend’s post and they tag you in a lot of comments and photos, the Algorithm will know you probably like seeing content from your best friend.
In the same way, if you like shopping in the afternoons and react to more branded posts during that time, Facebook will use that as an indicator to surface more branded posts during that time.
The Algorithm knows your preferences aren’t set in stone, so it is continuously learning from your behavior and looking out for signals that indicate your preferences have changed.
Step 3: Making predictions
Each signal is then used to make predictions. Let’s say you love posts from your gardening group, specifically how-to videos that show you how to trim your leaves or make compost. The Facebook News Feed Algorithm will use those signals to make predictions about how relevant the content is to you.
It will try to figure out how likely you are to comment on something, like something, read the caption, watch the video, or enjoy the story. The Algorithm does that by analyzing your past behavior (what content types and subjects you’ve interacted with) and conduction surveys with questions like, “How enjoyable did you find this post?”
Step 4: Scoring the content
After all that, the Algorithm gives a score to each piece of content. Content with higher scores is shown at the top of your News Feed.
8 do’s and don’ts of posting on Facebook
To make it easy for you to understand the Facebook algorithm, we went through all the (known) changes Facebook has implemented to its algorithm and came up with a list of factors we think may determine whether your post shows up or not.
1. Do share relevant, accurate stories people interact with
Facebook loves posts with a lot of likes, comments, and shares. Those interactions are signals the Algorithm uses to determine the relevancy of a post. Posting stories that are relevant to your followers will get you all three, telling the Algorithm your posts are interesting.
2. Do use video content when you can
SocialMediaToday aggregated research from different sources and found that video is the top-performing content type across all major social media platforms. Not to mention, Facebook loves original video content. When relevant, use video content to boost engagement and send relevance signals.
3. Do post user-generated content and mention people in your posts
Take your reviews on review sites like TrustPilot or Yelp and turn them into quick Facebook posts. Mentioning the person who left the review will boost post engagement and probably get you at least one new follower (if the reviewer wasn’t following you, to begin with).
4. Do publish posts that create meaningful conversations
Facebook likes authentic accounts that contribute to their community and create meaningful interactions. Facebook’s goal is to “bring people closer together and build relationships,” so posting overly promotional content that doesn’t get comments or shares won’t help your ranking. Interacting with other accounts also boosts your authenticity, so join other people’s conversations when relevant.
5. Do aim to get on people’s “Favorite” lists
In April of 2021, Facebook added a new feature that allows users to take more control of their News Feed through the Favorite list. Users can now place 30 friends and pages they follow on their Favorite list, so they see content from those friends and pages first.
Posting interesting, engaging content your target market enjoys will help you get on your followers’ Favorite lists.
6. Don’t use clickbait and engagement bait
In 2014 and 2017, new Facebook Algorithm updates were released that focused on using bounce rate as an indicator of clickbait and spammy links.
Clickbait is content that is exaggerated, over-sensationalized, and borderline spam. It promises an end result but doesn’t deliver (e.g. headlines like “The one fruit you need to stay young”). Engagement bait, on the other hand, uses captions or photos that contain phrases like, “Like this if you like dogs better, share this if you like cats better.”
7. Don’t share fake news
Fake news has been rampant on Facebook, so they’ve been doubling down on looking for signals that indicate misinformation or misdirection since 2018. Posting fake news for whatever purpose—creating urgency, fostering fear, etc.—is against their Community Standards, and repeated offenses can get you banned from the platform.
8. Don’t violate Facebook’s Community Standards
Even though Facebook is focusing on detecting and removing fake news from its platform, there are other Community Standards you need to take note of. For example, don’t post content containing violence, copyright violations, human exploitation, and more.
When the Algorithm misses a post that could be in violation of community guidelines, Facebook users can report your post and have it taken down anyway. If your posts get reported repeatedly, the overall “score” of your profile will also go down, which will lessen the visibility of your posts. In some cases, Facebook can also decide to remove you from the platform entirely.
To help you grow your Facebook Page reach, we’ve written a few guides you might like:
If you want to dig into the Facebook News Feed algorithm, read on to find out all the relevant changes Facebook has made.
All relevant changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm
(Last updated: July 2021)
Here’s a summary of all the changes relevant to social media marketers, in reverse-chronological order.
If you want to know more about any particular change, click on the quick link, and you’ll get more information about the change and how it may affect your Page.
- April 22, 2021: Facebook releases mini-surveys to better understand what people want to see
- March 31, 2021: Facebook gives users more control over their News Feed
- July 2, 2019: Facebook doubles down on misinformation around health
- May 16, 2019: More signals get introduced to the Algorithm to help it determine which posts are most important to users
- May 6, 2019: Facebook encourages video creators to publish original videos
- April 10, 2019: Facebook combats fake news by analyzing the “Click-Gap”
- November 15, 2018: Posts that could be in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards will also get lower scores
- October 16, 2018: Copycat posts that don’t add value will be penalized
- January 19, 2018: News that is trustworthy, informative, and local will be prioritized
- January 11, 2018: Posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people are prioritized
- December 18, 2017: Pages that use engagement bait are down-ranked
- August 28, 2017: Pages that share false news will no longer be able to run Facebook ads
- August 17, 2017: Posts that pretend to be a video will be demoted in the News Feed
- August 2, 2017: Posts with links that load slowly on mobile will be shown less in the News Feed
- May 17, 2017: Posts with clickbait headlines will rank lower in the News Feed
- May 10, 2017: Posts that link to websites with low-quality experience will rank lower in the News Feed
- January 31, 2017: Authentic and timely posts will rank better in the News Feed
- January 26, 2017: Long, engaging videos will rank better in the News Feed (than short, engaging videos)
- August 11, 2016: Posts that are informative will rank higher in the News Feed of people who might find them relevant
- June 29, 2016: Posts from friends will rank (even) higher in the News Feed
- April 21, 2016: Posts with links that keep people engaged will rank higher in the News Feed
- March 1, 2016: Live videos will rank higher in the News Feed when they are live than after they end
- February 24, 2016: Facebook launched Reactions to help businesses understand how people are responding to their posts
- December 4, 2015: Facebook uses surveys to improve News Feed ranking
- July 9, 2015: Facebook makes it easier for people to control what they see on their News Feed
- June 29, 2015: Facebook now considers more actions on videos while ranking videos in the News Feed
- June 12, 2015: Time spent on stories becomes a ranking factor
- April 21, 2015: Posts from friends will rank higher in the News Feed
- March 5, 2015: Facebook updates how Likes are counted
- January 20, 2015: Hoaxes will receive less reach and have an added warning
- January 7, 2015: Video is growing
- November 14, 2014: Overly promotional posts will receive less reach on Facebook
- September 18, 2014: Facebook will be considering the rate at which people interact with posts
- September 11, 2014: Offensive or inappropriate ads will be shown less or stopped
- August 25, 2014: Facebook will look at bounce rate to determine if an article has a clickbait headline
- June 23, 2014: Facebook can now rank videos uploaded directly to Facebook better than links to video sites
- September 11, 2014: Posts that explicitly ask for engagement will be ranked lower in the News Feed
- August 23, 2013: Facebook has developed a new algorithm to find and show high-quality content to users
April 22, 2021: Facebook releases mini-surveys to better understand what people want to see
Facebook will put users in control of how the Algorithm is shaped.
Facebook is now releasing surveys to get even more insights into what their users like and don’t like to determine how they’re going to update the Algorithm in 2021.
How may this affect your Page? Be prepared for another Algorithm change soon. As Facebook learns more about its users, you need to learn more about your followers, too.
March 31, 2021: Facebook gives users more control over their News Feed
Facebook will introduce Favorites, user-controlled News Feed ranking, and more filters to give you control over what shows up in your News Feed.
Facebook introduced a new feature called Favorites that allows users to pick 30 friends or pages Facebook they’d like to see on their News Feeds first. Facebook also now allows users to control whether they want News Feed content arranged by the Algorithm or by recency.
They’ve also introduced Snooze and Hide Post features for those who want to customize their News Feeds even more.
How may this affect your Page? Your new goal should be to get on your followers’ Favorite lists. The new “sort by recency” update also means you need to be more aware of when you post.
July 2, 2019: Facebook doubles down on misinformation around health products
Facebook will combat misinformation around health and reduce the distribution of products that purport false health claims.
This little Algorithm update lowers the distribution for posts that make false health-related claims for certain products. So posts about “miracle cures” will get a lower ranking on the News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? Unless your business is in the health industry, this Algorithm update probably won’t affect you.
May 16, 2019: More signals get introduced to the Algorithm to help it determine which posts are most important to users
Facebook will introduce more signals to the Algorithm to determine which accounts their users want to interact with the most using surveys.
The social network released surveys to determine what signals they need to add to their Algorithm to make it even better at predicting what users will enjoy. They asked users for a list of close friends and then analyzed how the Algorithm can determine who close friends are on its own.
The goal of this update is to make sure the Algorithm is showing users content they find important and engaging. Those pieces of content usually come from close friends and family members, but that doesn’t mean Pages are automatically bumped down.
How may this affect your Page? If you’re constantly publishing promotional content your followers don’t enjoy, you might see yourself lower on their News Feeds. Try posting photos and videos you know your followers would love to see to increase engagement and signal to the Algorithm you’re posting enjoyable, value-adding content.
May 6, 2019: Facebook encourages video creators to publish original videos
Facebook will be boosting views for original videos over three minutes long.
Facebook wants to become the go-to platform for video consumption, so they’re encouraging content creators to publish original, native videos on their platform.
This Algorithm update will look at five factors to determine whether your video should be bumped up the News Feed:
- Originality. Videos you created will perform better than copied clips.
- Viewer behavior. The longer people watch your video, the more Facebook will distribute your video, but the reverse is also true: Facebook will reduce distribution for videos that perform poorly.
- Video attributes. Videos that feel like slideshows will get fewer views.
- Loyalty and intent. If your followers are specifically coming on to Facebook to look for your content and engage with your Page, Facebook will increase the distribution of your content.
- Engagement. If your followers engage with your content—they comment on it, like it, share it—then your post will perform better.
How may this affect your Page? Facebook likes videos, so you should too. Publish original video content created solely for Facebook, and see your engagement skyrocket.
April 10, 2019: Facebook combats fake news by analyzing the “Click-Gap”
Facebook will introduce the Click-Gap metric to determine whether a post is linking out to fake news or not.
The Click-Gap metric, simply put, looks at a webpage’s performance across the Internet. If a news article is performing extremely well on Facebook, but nowhere else, the Algorithm takes that as an indicator the link is unreliable, possibly containing fake news.
How may this affect your Page? You need to make sure the content you share on Facebook is either original or comes from a reputable source; otherwise, your Page may get bumped down in the rankings.
November 15, 2018: Lowered ranking for posts that are close to being in violation of Facebook’s Community Standards
Sensationalist posts, posts that exaggerate the truth or outright lie, and wrongly-controversial content created to elicit an emotional response will appear lower on the News Feed.
A letter from Mark Zuckerberg explained that users who interact more with borderline content are bordering on violating Facebook’s community standard, thus tricking the Algorithm into thinking the post is relevant.
This update will make sure those inaccurate posts appear lower on the News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? Don’t post sensationalist content that exaggerates the truth (e.g. mentioning massive discounts but only giving a 2% discount on one product). While sensational posts may get good engagement when you first publish them, they hurt your overall Page ranking in the long run.
October 16, 2018: Copycat posts that don’t add value will be penalized
Facebook will penalize accounts that re-post other people’s content without adding any value.
This Facebook Algorithm change is the second part of an update they started in May 2017 that lowers the ranking of accounts that link out to low-quality web pages.
Some Pages on Facebook copy posts from other accounts that are doing well in order to trick the Algorithm. After all, if a post does well, it’s bound to do well again. This update changes that. Copied posts will now be moved to the bottom of users’ News Feeds.
How may this affect your Page? If your social media strategy is re-posting content that has done well, you need to change that. Make sure your content is original and interesting, even when you link out to other websites because Facebook uses bounce rate to determine the quality of your links.
January 19, 2018: High-quality news
Facebook will be prioritizing news from trustworthy sources, news that is informative, and news that is relevant to one’s local community.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, “news will always be a critical way for people to start conversations on important topics.”
So the team at Facebook is making another major update to make sure that news on the News Feed is of high quality. Specifically, they will be prioritizing the following types of news:
- News from publications the community rates as trustworthy
- News people find informative
- News relevant to people’s local community
Facebook has been surveying users to help determine the trustworthiness of publications and informativeness of news.
How may this affect your Page? If your publication is deemed to be trustworthy or your content is rated to be informative by Facebook users, you may see an increase in the distribution of your content.
January 11, 2018: Meaningful interactions
Facebook will be prioritizing posts that create meaningful conversations, especially those from family and friends.
With their new goal of making sure the time users spend on Facebook is time well spent, Facebook is making changes to their News Feed algorithm to give people more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.
To do so, the algorithm will be prioritizing posts that prompt conversations between friends and posts people might want to share and react to, such as “a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”
Again, Facebook will be prioritizing posts from family and friends over public content from Pages, as they believe a person-to-person connection is more valuable than a person-to-page connection.
An interesting point is that Mark Zuckerberg mentioned people will be seeing more posts from “friends, family, and groups.”
This might be a great time to start investing in a Facebook Group for your brand.
How may this affect your Page? Pages will likely see a fall in their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic, as less of your content will be shown to your Facebook fans. If your posts usually spark conversations between friends, you might see a smaller impact.
December 18, 2017: Engagement bait
Facebook will be down-ranking Pages that share posts goading the user into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions.
Facebook has found that users dislike “engagement bait” posts. For example, “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!” or “Tag a friend who NEEDS to see this video.”
These types of posts seek to take advantage of the Facebook News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. Facebook will now demote individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.
Facebook has listed five types of engagement bait:
- Vote baiting
- React baiting
- Share baiting
- Tag baiting
- Comment baiting
How may this affect your Page? If you use engagement bait tactics in posts on your Page, you should expect their reach on these posts to decrease. Pages that regularly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach. Facebook encourages Page owners to focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not use engagement bait tactics.
August 28, 2017: False news
Facebook will be blocking Pages that share false news from buying ads on Facebook.
Facebook found that some Pages had been using Facebook ads to build their following and share false news more widely. To prevent the spread of false news on Facebook, Pages that repeatedly share false news will no longer be allowed to buy Facebook ads (until they stop sharing such news).
The false news will be identified by third-party fact-checkers.
How may this affect your Page? If you share false news on your Page (perhaps unintentionally), you might be blocked from buying ads. It’s great to always check the validity of content before sharing it.
August 17, 2017: Video clickbait
Facebook will be demoting Facebook posts that pretend to be a video.
Spammers have been tricking people into clicking on Facebook posts that look like a video but aren’t. These deceptive posts are often videos with just a static image, or they feature a false video play button when it’s actually a link.
Here’s an example from Facebook:
How may this affect your Page? Facebook warned Pages that rely on such practices will see a significant fall in reach while most other Pages won’t be affected much.
August 2, 2017: Webpage load time
Facebook will be showing fewer stories with links that might take a long time to load
It’s frustrating when a website takes a long time to load. Facebook found that “As many as 40 percent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay.”
Hence, Facebook is rolling out an update to show more posts with links that load quickly and fewer posts with links that might load slowly in the News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? If your websites are particularly slow on mobile, you might see a fall in referral traffic from Facebook. Here are some tools and tips for improving your mobile site performance.
May 17, 2017: Clickbait headlines
Facebook is rolling out an update to show fewer posts with clickbait headlines.
In its continued effort to make Facebook an informed community, Facebook is reducing the number of clickbait stories in the News Feed. This includes posts with headlines that withhold or exaggerate information, such as the following:
- “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS…”
- “WOW! Ginger tea is the secret to everlasting youth. You’ve GOT to see this!”
Posts that link to articles with such headlines will rank lower in the News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? If you depend on such headlines to get a wide reach on Facebook, you will see a fall in your reach. The good news is that once you stop posting such clickbait stories, your Facebook posts will stop being affected by this change.
May 10, 2017: Low-quality webpage experience
Facebook is rolling out an update to show fewer posts and ads that link to websites with low-quality experience
To help build an informed community on Facebook, Facebook will be showing fewer posts that are “misleading, sensational and spammy.” Specifically, they are referring to websites with low-quality experiences, such as the following:
- Websites that contain little substantive content
- Websites that have a large number of disruptive, shocking, or malicious ads
Posts that link to such websites will rank lower in the News Feed and might not be allowed to be used as Facebook ads.
How may this affect your Page? You might experience a small increase in traffic if you do not share such content. Otherwise, you’ll likely see a fall in your reach and referral traffic.
January 31, 2017: Authentic and timely stories
Facebook is making two changes to help authentic and timely stories rank better.
To surface authentic content, Facebook will be analyzing Facebook Pages to see if they have been posting spam or trying to game the News Feed by asking for likes, comments, or shares. If Facebook finds that a Page’s posts might not be authentic, such as people often hiding those posts, Facebook will rank those posts lower in the News Feed.
To show people stories at the right time, Facebook will now study how people interact with posts in real-time. For example, if there’s an important soccer game going on and many people are talking about it on Facebook, Facebook will show relevant posts higher in the News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? Some Pages might see a tiny increase in their referral traffic. Consider posting timely, relevant posts to get more reach on Facebook.
January 26, 2017: Video completion
Facebook is going to show long videos people spend time watching to even more people.
When ranking videos in the News Feed, a factor Facebook considers is “percent completion” — the percentage of the video you watched.
Facebook now recognizes it takes more commitment to complete a long video than a short one. So it will now put more weight on the “percent completion” factor for longer videos.
As an example, if people are, on average, watching 50% of a 30-second video and 50% of a 10-minute video, the 10-minute video will rank better in the News Feed than the 30-second video. That’s because the 10-minute video has to be more engaging than the 30-second video to keep people watching for five minutes (vs. 15 seconds).
How may this affect your Page? If you create long, engaging videos, you might see an increase in your videos’ reach. Short videos, as a result, might see a fall in reach.
August 11, 2016: Personally informative stories
Facebook will be showing you more stories that are personally informative to you.
From its Feed Quality Program, Facebook found people enjoy stories that are informative to them. Using the patterns they learned from the program, Facebook will try to identify stories that are informative — usually, if they’re related to people’s interests, if they engage people in broader discussions, and if they contain news relevant to them.
Facebook will then combine this new signal with signals of how relevant the story might be to each individual to predict if they might like it.
How may this affect your Page? Informative content might get more reach on Facebook. From our recent experience, educational and entertaining content performs really well on Facebook.
June 29, 2016: Stories from friends
Facebook will be showing stories from close friends higher up in the News Feed.
Despite the previous update, people are still worried about missing important updates from their close friends. So Facebook is tweaking the News Feed algorithm again to rank posts from close friends higher up in the News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? You’ll likely see a fall in your Facebook reach and referral traffic as posts from friends will rank better than posts from Pages. Facebook recommends posting content your audience is likely to share with their friends.
April 21, 2016: Time spent viewing
Facebook will be ranking articles it thinks you will spend time reading higher in the News Feed.
Facebook learned the amount of time someone spent reading or watching the content of an article indicates how interesting the article was to them. So Facebook is adding a new ranking factor; how long someone might spend looking at the article.
To keep things fair between short and long articles, Facebook will be looking at the time spent within a threshold.
A smaller change within this update is that Facebook will be showing fewer posts from the same Page together in the News Feed. That’s because people find that repetitive and prefer content from a diverse range of Pages.
How may this affect your Page? There shouldn’t be any significant changes to your Page reach. That said, this reinforces the importance of creating engaging content.
March 1, 2016: Facebook Live
Facebook is more likely to rank Facebook Live videos higher in the News Feed when those videos are live than when they are no longer live.
Facebook found that “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live.”
That’s because those videos are more interesting when the event being filmed is happening live than after the event.
How may this affect your Page? You might see your live videos perform better than your other Facebook videos in terms of reach and engagement. Experiment with Facebook Live videos and see if they work better for you.
February 24, 2016: Facebook Reactions
Facebook recently rolled out Reactions — their supercharged ‘Like’ button — to help businesses better understand how people are responding to their content.
In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows,” or “sads” a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer you want to see more of that type of content. Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.
How may this affect your Page? You will get a better sense of how people are reacting to your Facebook posts with the data in your Facebook Page Insights. If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook Reactions, you can find more information here.
December 4, 2015: Surveys
Facebook surveys thousands of people every day to improve the News Feed ranking.
Besides looking at quantitative signals such as likes, comments, and shares, Facebook also surveys thousands of people every day to understand whether the News Feed algorithm is showing people the posts they want to see.
Here’s an example of the survey:
If a popular post isn’t something the people surveyed want to see, Facebook will rank that post lower in the future.
How may this affect your Page? This shouldn’t have a significant impact on your Page’s reach, as viral posts are usually anomalies. But I believe it’s good to know that Facebook does not only look at likes, comments, and shares when ranking your posts but also whether people actually want to see those posts. Relevance is key here.
July 9, 2015: Greater user control over the News Feed
Facebook is making it easier for people to adjust and customize their News Feed settings.
The preferences tab will be more visible and more intuitive, allowing people to find Pages and people to like and follow and easily select to follow/unfollow certain content.
June 29, 2015: Actions on Videos
Facebook now considers more actions on videos while ranking videos in the News Feed.
Facebook found that many people don’t feel inclined to like, comment on, or share a video even when they enjoyed the video.
So besides considering whether someone watched the video and for how long, Facebook is now taking into account more actions such as choosing to turn on the sound, watching the video in full screen, and enabling high definition. These actions indicate they enjoyed the video.
How may this affect your Page? If your followers like the videos you post, this update will help them see your videos more often in their News Feed.
June 12, 2015: Time spent on stories
How much time you spend viewing stories becomes a factor Facebook uses to determine what to show at the top of your News Feed.
While many people might not like, comment on, or share a post they found meaningful, they would likely spend more time on it than other posts. Hence, Facebook is taking this as a signal for ranking Facebook posts.
By understanding what types of content someone prefers, Facebook can surface similar types of content higher up in their News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? Facebook does not expect Pages to see significant changes in terms of reach. But if you want to improve your Facebook reach, making your content engaging could help.
April 21, 2015: Content from friends and Pages
Facebook is rolling out three updates to improve the experience of the News Feed.
The first is for people who do not have much content to see — maybe because they don’t follow many people or Pages. Facebook used to have a rule that prevented people from seeing multiple stories from the same source in succession. They are now relaxing the rule, so if you reach the end of your News Feed but still want to see more stories, you’ll see more.
The second is to show posts from friends you care about higher in your News Feed, so you are less likely to miss them. If you read and interact with posts from Pages, you’ll still see them on your News Feed.
The third is to reduce or remove stories about friends liking or commenting on a post, such as this:
How may this affect your Page? You’ll likely see a fall in reach as posts from friends will be prioritized before posts from Pages.
March 5, 2015: Facebook Likes
Facebook to update the way Page likes are counted, removing the likes of memorialized accounts and deactivated accounts.
How may this affect your Page? It’s possible you might see a small decline in the overall Likes for your Page once this update occurs.
January 20, 2015: Facebook targets hoaxes
Facebook aims to reduce the number of hoaxes in News Feed with algorithm tweak.
To reduce the number of posts containing misleading or false news, Facebook has announced that the News Feed algorithm will begin to factor in when many people flag a post as false or choose to delete posts.
Facebook will reduce the reach of such posts and add a warning on the post (without reviewing or removing the post).
How may this affect your Page? Facebook found “from testing that people tend not to report satirical content intended to be humorous or content that is clearly labeled as satire. This type of content should not be affected by this update.” Only Pages that often post hoaxes and false news will be affected.
January 7, 2015: Video is growing
Facebook has provided some new stats and tips on using video, including these:
- In just one year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75 percent globally and 94 percent in the U.S.
- The amount of video from people and brands in the News Feed has increased 3.6x year-over-year.
- Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day.
- On average, more than 50 percent of people who come to Facebook every day in the U.S. watch at least one video daily.
- Seventy-six percent of people in the U.S. who use Facebook say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.
How may this affect your Page? Facebook could be favoring video posts. Experiment with Facebook videos, and see if they perform better than other post types.
November 14, 2014: Overly promotional Page posts
Facebook is rolling out an update to reduce the number of overly promotional posts in the News Feed.
Facebook heard from people that they want less promotional content on their News Feed and more stories from friends and Pages they like.
After digging into their data, Facebook found these are the types of posts people find too promotional:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Here’s an example:
How may this affect your Page? Pages that often post such content will see a significant fall in their reach over time. To grow your reach, Facebook recommends posting relevant and high-quality content.
September 18, 2014: When people Like and comment
Facebook will be looking at when people are Liking, commenting, and sharing.
Facebook used to only look at the total number of Likes on a post when ranking it in the News Feed. Now, Facebook will also look at the rate at which people are Liking, commenting on, and sharing a post.
If people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests 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.
How may this affect your Page? The reach of your posts isn’t only determined by the number of Likes they get but also by the rate at which people interact with them. Posts that consistently receive a good amount of engagement will be shown to more people on Facebook.
September 11, 2014: Offensive or inappropriate ads
Facebook stops showing ads that are offensive or inappropriate.
When people hide ads in their News Feed, Facebook takes it as a signal that others might not want to see them, too, and show them to fewer people.
Now, Facebook is also asking people why they hid the ads. If it’s because the ad is offensive or inappropriate, Facebook will stop showing the ad.
How may this affect your Page? If someone reported your ad as offensive or inappropriate, you might see a significant fall in the reach of the ad.
August 25, 2014: Bounce rate
Facebook will be looking at bounce rate to determine if an article is using a clickbait headline.
If someone clicks on an article and returns to Facebook immediately (or “bounce”), it might mean they didn’t find what they were expecting. This is often because the article is using a clickbait headline. Facebook will be using this signal when ranking the article in the News Feed.
In addition, Facebook will also be monitoring if people are Liking, commenting on, or sharing the article after they click on it. If few people are, it’s likely the article is not valuable, relevant, or meaningful. Facebook will then rank it lower in the News Feed.
Facebook will also be ranking posts with a link preview higher in the News Feed than posts with a link just in the caption — as the link preview shows more information about the article.
How may this affect your Page? Facebook found that posts with link preview “received twice as many clicks compared to links embedded in photo captions.” Experiment to see if that applies to the content you’re sharing.
June 23, 2014: Better videos
Facebook will now be able to understand (and rank) videos uploaded directly to Facebook better.
For videos uploaded to Facebook directly, Facebook is now able to know whether someone has watched it and for how long. It seems they are unable to do that for links to YouTube (or other video site’s) videos.
Having this new information will allow Facebook to rank Facebook videos better. Early tests have shown that people are watching more videos relevant to them.
How may this affect your Page? Videos you upload directly to Facebook will likely perform better than links to videos on other sites such as YouTube. This was a mistake we had been making for a while.
September 11, 2014: Like-baiting
Facebook will show fewer posts that explicitly ask for Likes, comments, or shares.
Some Pages try to game the News Feed algorithm by explicitly asking for Likes, comments, and shares. Here’s an example:
As people have reported that such posts are less relevant than posts with a similar amount of engagement, Facebook will be ranking these posts lower in the News Feed.
How may this affect your Page? According to Facebook, “This update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, Comments and Shares.”
August 23, 2013: High-quality content
Facebook has developed a new algorithm to find and show high-quality content to users.
To build the algorithm, Facebook surveyed thousands of people and put the results into a machine learning system. Here are some of the questions they asked:
- Is this timely and relevant content?
- Is this content from a source you would trust?
- Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
- Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g. asking for people to like the content)
- Would you call this a low-quality post or meme?
- Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?
The algorithm also uses thousand other factors to determine if a post is high-quality content. Some of these factors include “how frequently content from a certain Page that is reported as low quality (e.g. hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base for other known high-quality Pages.”
How may this affect your Page? Pages that are seeing good engagement on their posts might see an increase in their reach. Here are some tips from Facebook:
— Make your posts timely and relevant
— Build credibility and trust with your audience
— Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
— Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”
Could you help us make this resource more complete?
We’d love your help in tracking any changes and factors to the Facebook News Feed so this post can be as complete as possible.
Is there anything that we’ve missed?
Is there any news that came out recently we should add?
Let us know by leaving a comment on this post or drop us a tweet. We’ll be happy to pass along a hat tip in the post for any and all good leads.
We hope this resource comes in handy for you as you navigate your small business social media strategy. Let us know how things go and if there’s anything we can do to improve the way we help.
Topics: Facebook marketing, Social media strategy
This blog post was originally written on November 4, 2014 and updated on July 30, 2021.
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