Friends First, Brands Second: Facebook Updates Its Algorithm

A picture of the Facebook News Feed

Admit it. There are times when you log onto Facebook, take a look at your News Feed, and ask yourself, “What’s all this?” For many users the News Feed is cluttered with ads for services they don't need, posts by "friends" they never speak to, and links to topics they are not interested in. As part of its ongoing effort to improve the user experience, Facebook recently updated its News Feed algorithm to favor content that is actually relevant and meaningful to the user. How? By measuring what you “pause” to read, watch, or touch. Loosely translated, the content you engage with will become a priority in the News Feed. For a brand, that means your content has to be as compelling and captivating as those cute baby pictures, or funny cat memes, or mesmerizing police chase videos.

Facebook Measures Quality Time

Prior to this new update, the Facebook News Feed only accounted for likes, comments, and shares. The feed also emphasized updates from friends instead of company pages. However, just because a user doesn’t respond to a post with a like or a share, that doesn’t mean they are completely ignoring a post. In fact, a user may actually spend several minutes viewing, reading and considering a post before continuing to scroll down their feed. Facebook’s latest algorithm takes this into account and measures how much time a post is on a person’s screen.

In a blog published last Friday, Facebook software engineer Ansha Yu explained that the algorithm is measuring the amount of time a user spends with a post as compared to the time spent with other posts. This is good news for any business or thought leader on Facebook, especially those who engage with followers and regularly post consistent and compelling content.

Yu said, “We’ve discovered that if people spend significantly more time on a particular story in News Feed than the majority of other stories they look at, this is a good sign that content was relevant to them.”

We can’t emphasize this enough: quality content, including content incorporating video, will grab the attention of Facebook users (and your customers). If the new algorithm works the way Facebook says it will, users will begin seeing relevant posts at the top of their News Feed each time they log in.

Not much has been said about how this update will effect the reach of celebrity and company pages, but Facebook did make it a point to announce that they do not expect “pages to see significant changes in distribution” as a result of the update.

Social Media Expertise

Facebook’s latest algorithm is being rolled out over the next few weeks, and we here at Signet will be monitoring it closely. If you are a business with no social media strategy and want to take advantage of Facebook as a platform for engaging your customers with quality content, contact the marketing experts at Signet Interactive today.

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