Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm: What’s New

So last Monday, Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm for probably the bazillionth time.

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What changed, and why? 

Well, this time, the changes are apparently to provide its users with better videos on the social media platform.

Remember I told you about Facebook’s plans to start rolling out video ads?

So now it seems Facebook’s trying to figure out which of its users like their videos so far, and which ones don’t even bother watching.

Now, the algorithm includes a brand spanking new video-ranking system, which takes into account whether people are actually watching each video, and for how long. That information is then used to decide who else will see that video in their feed.

Facebook Video Ads

It’s actually more accurate than the previous algorithm, which calculated a video’s success by the amount of Likes and comments. However, the new measurement is aimed towards calculating how captivating the content of the video is.

According to Facebook, those who tend to watch more videos in their newsfeed can also expect to see more videos near the top of their feeds, while those who watch fewer videos can expect to see less. (However, the algorithm will only count the videos from Facebook itself, not the ones your or your friends share from YouTube and other video sharing websites.)

Also, users who prefer video ads will find that they see less of image ads, and more video ads in their feed.

The reason for this tweak was probably because of 2 things:

  • Facebook’s been trying to personalize each person’s newsfeed by letting them see the type of content each user is more interested in. So if a user prefers more videos in their feed, Facebook tries to make sure they get more videos.
  • Facebook also wants to see which users will be most receptive to their new video ads. The more they know about their users’ video-watching habits, the more successful their video ad format will be.

So what other algorithm tweaks has Facebook implemented over the past few months, and how does it affect us marketers?

1. Fewer Facebook ads

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Facebook recently announced that it will be showing larger, but fewer ads on the right hand side of your newsfeed.

This is good news for Facebook users, but not quite as good for marketers. Especially since it also means that buying one of those ads is going to cost more.

Not to mention that now, there’s going to be much fiercer competition over one of those coveted right-hand side ad spots – especially since now that there are fewer ads there, more people are finding the ads on the right more engaging, and advertisers are getting more value for their ad impressions.

2. Better quality news stories

Facebook’s been cracking down on what it deems “spammy content” – which means that if you were sharing any of this type of content in order to get more engagement, you might want to change your content strategy.

“Spammy content” according to Facebook is content that users repeatedly upload and share, or which explicitly ask for comments or Likes. Even memes are considered spammy – and so all of these types of content will appear much less in people’s newsfeeds.

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Also, Facebook will resurface old posts that perform well (those that receive more engagement and are considered “hot topics”) in your newsfeed, even if you’ve already read them. Which is why even if you set your feed to show “Most Recent” stories, chances are you’ll still see some popular content resurfacing at the top again and again.

3. More content from brands

Facebook has been doing it’s part to help brands expand their audience: If a brand tags another brand in a post, their posted content can now be seen by the followers of both brand pages.

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It’s a simple way for brands to increase their reach, and may mean more brand-related content in peoples’ newsfeeds.

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