Everything you need to know about the Facebook News Feed algorithm: Updated

We promised you updates on noteworthy algorithm changes as they rolled out, and here we are.

Just before the holidays, Facebook released some updates to the ever-changing News Feed that are relevant to marketers.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Everything we already knew about the algorithm

If you’re not familiar with where things already stood with the Facebook News Feed algorithm at the end of 2017, we’ve got some reading for you to brush up with quickly: The latest on the Facebook algorithm, plus how brands can work with it.

(And if you’re looking to catch up on the latest for Instagram and Twitter’s algorithms, we have everything you need to know for those too.)

Everything that’s new

So what’s new that you should focus on?

Video is still big on Facebook, and now repeat viewership and intent matter more than ever. From Facebook:

  • “Intent matters. With this update, videos from Pages that people proactively seek out, by using Search or going directly to a Page for example, will see greater distribution on News Feed.
  • Repeat viewership matters. Also with this update, we will show more videos in News Feed that people return to watch from the same publisher or creator week after week.”

What does this mean for brands? Make video with purpose; even if you’re running experiments, have some data to backup what you’re experimenting with, either in format or content.

It comes back to the age-old content rule: Create what it is that your audience will find most helpful or entertaining, or ideally, both.

The second change for marketers to focus on? Facebook is cracking down on “engagement bait” posts, or posts that solicit likes or other types of engagement in a non-organic manner.

For example:

  • Vote baiting
  • React baiting
  • Share baiting
  • Tag baiting
  • Comment baiting
engagement baiting 1
via Facebook

How will they check for these types of posts? According to Facebook:

“To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.”

The aim is to increase the authenticity of posts and prevent engagement baiters- especially serial offenders- from artificially inflating their reach with this tactic.

The takeaway for brands here remains the same: Work to post content that benefits your audience, either in terms of providing helpful resources, entertaining them, or both.

Further updates: Since this post was published, Facebook announced more updates to their News Feed that will impact publishers. Here’s a take from Marketing Land, and another from Social Media Today.

Key takeaway: Know your audience

The best way to do this is to measure the impact of your content. Which types of content are they responding to? Which times are your posts receiving the most engagement? Which formats are working best for your brand?

If you need assistance with these metrics and more, we’re happy to help.