{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Last night Facebook revealed changes to the algorithm it uses to determine which stories appear in a user's news feed.

This was an interesting development for a number of reasons. Here are my five takeaways and learnings for brands

1. Facebook admitting that news feed algorithms exist

This announcement represents a major shift in the way Facebook communicates about the news feed algorithm (commonly known as Edgerank):

We’ve heard from our users and Page owners that we need to do a better job of communicating these updates. Starting today, we’re going to try and change that. News feed FYI blog posts, beginning with this one, will highlight major updates to News Feed and explain the thinking behind them.

Not only did it admit that an algorithm exists, but it gave a number of important insights, including:

  • Every time someone visits their news feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and Pages for them to see.
  • Only 300 of these stories will show up due to the news feed algorithm.
Key learning for brands: This is good news and reveals a shift in the way Facebook communicates. As users and brands become more savvy, they will increasingly want to know more about how Facebook makes decisions about which posts to show.

2. No major changes

While there were a few new updates announced, there are no signs of wholesale changes to how news feed operates and how posts are ranked. There is also no impact on paid mechanisms and products.

Facebook also gave the clearest detail yet about the factors that determine post ranking:

  • How often you interact with the friend, Page, or public figure (like an actor or journalist) who posted.
  • The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular.
  • How much you have interacted with this type of post in the past.
  • Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post.

Key learning for brands: Again, good news here for brands as most of what works (or doesn't work) at the moment will remain. The changes that have been made largely build upon existing ranking factors.

3. Story bumping

Story bumping is a new signal that Facebook has added to counteract a very specific problem with post decay:

Today we are announcing an update to the news feed ranking algorithm. Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of news feed if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.

When users load up Facebook in the morning, a finite number of stories are shown on screen. They can scroll to view additional stories, but inevitably users leave some unread before clicking elsewhere. Story bumping ensures that when the user logs in to Facebook later in the day, some of these unread stories are brought to the top of their news feed alongside whatever has been posted since they last accessed the social network.

According to Facebook, this change in testing has seen a 5% increase in the number of likes, comments and shares on stories users saw from friends and an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on stories from Pages.

Further stats from Facebook revealed that, previously, users read on average 57% of the stories in their news feeds, but didn't scroll far enough to see the other 43%. In testing, with story bumping, the number of stories read increased to 70%.

Key learning for brands: Sustaining engagement after a story has been posted will be key here. Encouraging comments through effective community management will increase the amount of discussion around a story and optimise it for story bumping.

4. Last actor

Last actor is a signal that takes into account the last 50 interactions that a user has. People and Pages that are within the last 50 interactions will receive a small bump in ranking value.

Key learning for brands: One-off engagement is therefore not enough to maximise awareness. Brands need to be encouraging users to interact on a regular basis.

5. Last actor chronological

This is an update that Facebook revealed last night but that isn't active yet. It's a move by Facebook to grab some of Twitter's real-time success and follows quick on the announcement of hashtags on Facebook.

This update seeks to determine the stories by a specific user that are about a real-time event. It then displays these posts in chronological order at the top of the news feed (like Twitter) but leaves the rest of the feed as it is.

Key learning for brands: This update hasn't rolled out yet so it's one to watch, but there is a clear sign here that Facebook is getting serious about real-time.

Avatar-blank-50x50

Published 7 August, 2013 by Danny Whatmough

Danny Whatmough is Head of Digital, EMEA Consumer at Weber Shandwick. He can be found on TwitterGoogle+  and blogs at dannywhatmough.com.

21 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Avatar-blank-50x50

Nicholas

Facebook continues to remain relevant and a vehicle for brands to interact and gain data from its audience. Now with this new algorithm being announced I believe companies will use it to their advantage keeping Facebook as one of the elite social media platforms.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

London Video Production

How many companies do we know that just post, once every two weeks to try and gain interest, this isn't good enough. If you are serious about becoming successful on social media platforms, this is the attention to detail that is necessary. Great post, should be a real eye-opener for businesses and companies.

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Richard

My news feed has been feeling a bit stale lately. I feel too many older posts are being bumped.

I had also been wondering if negative post feedback effected the news feed. I would be handy to get some more insight into why they are giving bad feedback..

over 2 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.