Just when business owners are starting to get the hang of marketing on social media, Facebook’s algorithm changes… again. On June 29th, Facebook announced another update to its news feed algorithm, making it the 3rd major change to the Facebook algorithm in the past few months.
Remember: the news feed algorithm decides whether your fans see the content you post on your business page and if so, when they see it.
Facebook’s Announcement of the Change
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.
But the latest update shouldn’t greatly impact your posting strategy — there are just a couple more things to be aware of: Timely Content and Timing of Likes & Comments.
The first change deals with posts about timely content, better known as trending topics. For example, if you & your friends are posting about the Redskins game or the newest episode of Game of Thrones, you’re more likely to see those posts first in your news feed. As Owen’s said:
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).
This may or may not affect your business depending on how you use trending topics to market your products or services. If anything, your posts about trending topics may see increased distribution early on and less distribution over time, but if you’re continuously producing great content that is relevant and resonates with your audience, you shouldn’t have a problem reaching your fans.
Timing of Likes & Comments
The Facebook algorithm has always used the total likes of a post to determine relevancy. However, the next new Facebook algorithm will consider when people like or comment on a post when deciding whether or not to show it at the top of the news feed.
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.
This all goes back to timeliness. If your post saw a high velocity of engagement early on and then drops off, the new algorithm is going to consider your post a ‘trending topic’ early on (high on the news feed) and then distribute it less as time passes.
This change reminds us a lot of the Facebook feature called “story bumping”, which causes older posts to appear at the top of the news feed when your friends interact with the content. Essentially, this would resurface stories that were getting a lot of engagement to make sure that you didn’t miss out on any of timely content or comments.
As with any change, we hope these changes work to improve the news feed experience by making the content you see on Facebook more timely & relevant. As a business owner, you should keep producing great content that is relevant and resonates with your audience through your business page.
Word of caution: Don’t try to game the news feed by posting updates that have nothing to do with your business, just because it’s a trending topic. As always, stay relevant to your audience and continue posting strong content and you will do just fine!
We want to hear what you think! How do you think this new change will affect your reach?