How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2020

in Facebook

What is Facebook Algorithm

The facebook algorithm shows the posts in the news feed so that each user can see them in the order he likes them best and is interested in them. And for this the system uses certain ranking factors. Ranking factors are data about the past behavior of a certain user and the behavior in principle of all platform users. For example, do people share this post with friends? How often does he watch live broadcasts? What’s his favorite band? How many posts are technically available for him now? How fresh are they? So the algorithm weighs many factors before deciding whether to show you the same video with the cute cat.

Facebook mentions three big categories of ranking factors:

  • Who a user typically interacts with
  • The type of media in the post (eg., video, link, photo, etc.)
  • The popularity of the post

In March 2019, Facebook announced a tool that aims to give users more transparency and control over what is shown on the news feed. The “Why Am I Seeing This?” button does exactly what it promises: it helps the user understand why the algorithm shows this post in the news feed.

Why Am I Seeing This?

It also allows people to “tell” the algorithm directly what is important and what is annoying to them. This means that users can tell Facebook that they want to see fewer posts from a certain person or see more postings on a certain business page.

How did the Facebook algorithm change

A little bit of history:

In 2009, Facebook presented the first similar algorithm: the news feed started to form depending on the popularity of each post.

In 2015, Facebook introduced the “See First” feature, which allowed users to select the pages to appear at the top of the news feed. The platform also began to downgrade pages that posted too many publications with advertising connotations.

In 2016, Facebook began giving priority to posts from friends and family, as well as informative and entertaining content. Also, the algorithm began to measure the value of the post based on the amount of time that users spent watching it, even if they did not scatter and barking. Live video broadcasts also became a priority, as they received three times as much viewing time as regular videos.

In 2017, the facebook algorithm began to evaluate the reaction of users to the post (angry face, etc.) above the usual likes. Also the indicator of watching video to the end was added to the evaluation of video.

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the news feed algorithm will now give priority to posts that cause discussion and meaningful interaction. The goal of the innovation is to highlight the quality, not the amount of time that users spend online, and to take more responsibility for how the platform affects its users. At the same time, brands have a legitimate fear that their organic content will no longer be as valued as content from family, friends and groups. Since the algorithm prioritized positions that collected quality interactions (comments, reactions, responses to comments, messenger tweaks), it turned out that companies had to already have this high-level engagement in order to get coverage to increase user engagement.

In March 2019, a study by NewsWhip found that while Facebook engagement is increasing by 50% year on year, changes in the algorithm also increase discord and insults on the social network as they promote positions that people care about. At the same time, the algorithm started tracking poor quality content and fake news from untrustworthy sources who knew how to cheat the system to get maximum user attention.

Facebook algorithm will continue to change.

In a sense, 2018 marked the beginning of a new era for brands on Facebook, and changes continue to this day. Due to tape updates and the fall of organic coverage, many said that small business is doomed.

But let’s put the pessimism aside. Because, first of all, thanks to updates it will now be possible to most accurately identify the content that will be of interest to users. And this is better than just watching users leave Facebook, because their news feed has become too “spam”.

Second, while these updates may affect brands, you can focus on Facebook advertising, adapt your organic content to the new ranking system or (ideally) do both. Publish more videos and don’t forget to add signatures. Make sure the headlines and descriptions contain emotions, quotations, authoritative opinions or all of the above.

Do not fall into the trap, or you will be in a worse position than you started. Finally, focus on where it should be: cost-effective and efficient Facebook advertising campaigns that reach a much larger audience than normal publications, even before this latest Facebook algorithm changes.

What does this change mean to all of us?

Focus on strong emotions.

Given that the facebook algorithm now gives priority to interaction and comments, you need to provoke the target audience to them. But what emotions should you focus on? A study published in Harvard Business Review found that six emotions are extremely common in public content on social networks: admiration, amazement, surprise, curiosity, interest, uncertainty.

Don’t use clickbaits

With new changes to Facebook’s algorithm, you may be tempted to do your best to increase interest and keep the page popular. However, if you go too far, nothing good will come of it.

As mentioned earlier, the Facebook algorithm fights provocations and fakes. In short, if it notices the manipulations in your posts, their rating in the news feed will drop significantly.

facebook algorithm

Here are five types of bait that’ll bring your posts down:

  • Voting in comments is one of several options.
  • “React baiting” invites users to give specific answers to the message.
  • “Share baiting” offers an additional prize for users who share a post.
  • “Tag baiting” encourages users to describe friends with certain characteristics in a message.
  • Call to users to leave comments with a specific word or phrase.

Write quotes in the headlines.

Quotes are very popular on social networks. For example, tweets containing quotes average 19% more retweets than those that don’t, and quotes are one of the most popular content categories on Pinterest. That applies to all quotes. They can be either well-known historical personalities’ phrases, or just quotes from an interview or article you share.

Try to test this the next time you post an ad on Facebook. Use one ad with a standard headline and another with a quote from the content you advertise. Compare the engagement rates of both ads – we think the results will speak for themselves.

Add more video

One of the most effective combinations for increasing interaction with the post is to publish the video and put a key quote from the video into a title or description of the video. In this way, you feed the audience’s interest in the quote, and then draw attention to the video content.

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Video content is now very popular on Facebook. Just so you understand, there are more than 8 billion videos viewed daily on the platform. More importantly, video content engagement and coverage is on average 135% higher than photos and regular posts.

In addition, native videos on Facebook have an average involvement rate of 4.9%. Compare this to an average engagement rate of less than 2%, which is typically received from large brands, and you’ll understand why this type of content may be the most powerful tool on social networks.

Facebook algorithms also give priority to videos, and this is reinforced by the fact that they take up more space on users’ screens.

And don’t forget to add text: 82% of Facebook users watch videos muted, so videos with signatures increase involvement by 367%.

Tips on working with the Facebook algorithm

Start conversations that will stimulate communication.

According to Facebook, one of the key signals of the ranking algorithm is whether the user has previously interacted with this page. And since no one is going to interact with your page as they would with a friends page, the likes and loosening of the page received during a lively conversation under the post will play a role in increasing the coverage of your future publications.

So you need to work hard before the algorithm starts to understand and give credit to the value of your page. You don’t need to roll into low quality ways of attracting likes and comments (the algorithm recognizes them and can lower the post and the page in the ribbon), try to appeal to the feelings of users (even video with cats).

Post when your audience is online.

Freshness is another ranking factor that is important when the algorithm chooses which post to show users. The newer, the better. Published just now – perfect. To find out when your audience is online, it is better not to rely on general research averages, but to use special analytical tools.

Do not post content for which you may be downgraded

There are several categories of posts, for which, according to Facebook, the algorithm will immediately lower the page in the feed:

  • Links to sites that use copied content without any value,
  • Content that may be offensive but is not banned
  • Fake News
  • Misleading health or treatment information
  • Videos with inaccurate information, created to manipulate users’ reactions.

Post high quality video with a duration of more than three minutes

In May 2019, Facebook announced that the news feed will show more quality and original video clips. The following factors were reinforced in the algorithm:

  • Loyalty and Intent: video that users search and view several times.
  • Video length and view duration: videos that users watch for more than one minute and videos that last for more than three minutes
  • Original: videos that are not republished from other sources and that have their own value.

Also don’t forget about live video broadcasts on Facebook, which get six times more involvement than regular videos.

Post often and regularly

According to Facebook, pages that post regularly are likely to be more useful to their audience. The frequency of posting is therefore a ranking factor that can affect how high your posts are on the news feed. So don’t drop the content calendar: a well-thought-out publication plan will help keep your audience engaged and focused.

Use groups that are important to your audience

At the F8 conference in 2019, it was stated that groups continue to be one of the most valuable parts of Facebook, according to user behavior. A key point here is the phrase from Facebook that people “can see more content from the groups on the news feeds.

What can brands do? Create their own group on the basis of a page where they can hold discussions, post educational content, solve user problems and do not forget about entertainment publications.

Tell users how to prioritize content on the news feed

As Facebook moves towards greater transparency in the ranking of newswire content, audiences have more control over what they see. So tell your subscribers that they can prioritize your page posts in the feed. However, in order to do so, you must post exactly the kind of content that your subscribers will never want to miss.

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After watching this course you will understand how Facebook Ads Algorithm works and you can apply this strategy for your Digital Marketing and increase efficiency at last for 1000%

facebook algorithm

About the Author

Nicolai Mihailiuc

Founder and CEO of CreateGo Company

I am a Tech Entrepreneur from Republic of Moldova, founder and CEO of the CreateGo Company in 2009. I am a husband and father of a lovely daughter .