You've posted your company's big product announcement to your Facebook page, but only a sliver of your fans actually see it. Why the heck is that? What factors does Facebook consider when deciding how to display your updates in people's News Feeds?
For a long time, business owners and other social-media users chalked it up to some convoluted algorithm called EdgeRank, which took into account an exhaustive list of variables including posts with pictures, links out to other websites and repetitive content.
Say goodbye to EdgeRank, folks. Facebook has a new playbook for News Feed.
"EdgeRank is a name for one of the early News Feed algorithms, that we occasionally still see used by the press to refer to all the algorithms that power News Feed," a Facebook spokesperson says. "It is not a word that we use internally because it doesn't capture how today's News Feed algorithms, which take into account a variety of social factors, work."
Because there are so many posts that users could want to see in their News Feeds -- posts from friends, businesses they like, etc. -- most people don't have enough time to see them all. So Facebook says its new algorithms "listen" to user feedback, essentially letting people decide who and what to connect with.
"When a user likes something, that tells News Feed that they want to see more of it; when they hide something, that tells News Feed to display less of that content in the future," Facebook says in an announcement today. This allows Facebook to prioritize which posts to feature in a specific user's News Feed.
Here are some of the user signals the News Feed algorithm considers when serving up posts:
- 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.
For business owners, this means there is an increased emphasis on sharing posts that will get people liking, commenting and sharing more. As they do, your posts will land in their News Feeds more often.
And if people don't scroll down far enough in their News Feeds to see your company's most recent post, don't fret. Facebook announced today a new feature that allows older content to reappear at the top of a user's News Feed later on. In early tests for this new feature, Facebook says users read about 70 percent of the posts in their News Feed, up from only about 57 percent.
Facebook also announced today that it has created a new series of blog posts called News Feed FYI that will highlight major algorithm changes and explain the logic behind those changes. News Feed FYI posts will be published on the Facebook for Business blog.