Facebook algorithm : Do you want to know how it actually works?
Do you think your publications on Facebook get the visibility you want?
Would you like to appear more often in the news stream of people?
If your answer to any of these 2 questions is yes, keep reading. This article was written for you.
First of all, if few people see your publications, that’s normal. In fact, it is possible that barely 10% of your fans see your latest publications.
You know why ?
It’s Facebook that decides. And more precisely its algorithm. Previously called Edgerank, the Facebook algorithm dictates who sees your publications and who does not see them.
When Facebook implemented its algorithm 7 years ago, Facebook faced several challenges in 2010
More and more people were subscribing to the platform and publishing content, which means an overabundance of content and therefore a more dense news stream.
The desire to offer personalized content adapted to the interests of its users.
Find a solution to make its users addicted to its platform.
From there was born the algorithm of Facebook, nicknamed Edgerank at the time.
Of course, marketers and other Facebook professionals have managed to understand some of the factors that allow Edgerank to post and rank your publications in the news feed.
The purpose of this article is to show you how the Facebook algorithm works, and especially how to optimize the visibility of your publications in the news feed.
Now the Facebook algorithm is called the News Feed Algorithm. So that’s how I’ll mention it in this article.
How the Facebook algorithm classifies your content?
At the F8 Summit, Adam Mosseri made a very interesting analogy with an example of everyday life to illustrate how the News Feed Algorithm works. And he chose as an example, the choice of a meal for another person at the restaurant to illustrate the functioning of the News Feed Algorithm.
Suppose you had to choose a dish for your wife at the restaurant, how would you do it? According to Adam, this “process” is done in 4 steps:
First, look at the menu to know its options.
Think about all the information we have (i.e. What she likes to eat, is it lunch or dinner, what are the good dishes at the restaurant)
From there, making predictions (i.e. would she like salmon for lunch, would it be weird to order a crescent in the evening, etc.)
Just the moment to place order: the conclusion.
The Facebook algorithm works in the same way, in 4 steps:
Inventory (What’s on the menu?)
Context and signals (What time is it? Is it lunch or dinner?)
Predictions (Would she like salmon?)
Score (Place Order)
Let me explain these 4 steps in more detail.
When you log on to Facebook, Facebook’s algorithm makes an inventory of everything that has been published by your friends and the pages you follow.
Context and Signals
Facebook then analyzes all the data at its disposal to precisely predict the publications that interest you the most. These data, Facebook calls them ‘signals’.
Facebook uses thousands of signals to classify all content, such as:
- Who published (a friend, a page, a personality).
- On which device the user is connected (phone, tablet, desktop).
- What time is it right now ?
(More on the signals later in the article).
Facebook then uses these signals to make predictions about the content that might interest you, we’re talking about:
- Content that you would like to read
- Content that you would find useful or informative.
- Content that you would like to interact with (love, comment, share, click).
- Content you’d like to stop (like a nice photo or video)..
It is now time for the Facebook algorithm to make its choice and rank the publications in your news feed.
To do so, it assigns a relevance score (which evaluates your supposed interest for a publication) for each of the publications. This is how Facebook classifies publications (in a very simplified way).
If you understand correctly, the News Feed algorithm determines:
When a publication is to be shown or not in the news feed of a user.
If so, in which position to place this publication in the news feed.
As you can imagine, the Facebook algorithm gets better with time. At most, you spend time on Facebook and at the most you are active (love pages, interact, etc.), at best its algorithm is able to predict the publications you would like to see.
As a result, Facebook ensures that your news feed is as personalized as possible, for your greatest happiness.
More info on the signals
The “signals” used by Facebook are extremely important because they allow the Facebook algorithm to determine the visibility (or scope) of your publications. As I said at the beginning of the article, the secret formula of the Facebook algorithm to classify your publications is secret and is based on more than 10000 parameters. However, we can still decipher the most important ones.
So far, I’m not telling you anything.
But that’s not all.
– The engagement rate.
Engagement is about interactions like “Like”, comments, shares, clicks, video views, etc. The engagement rate has an impact on the number of people who will see your publication at a given time.
It makes sense, when a post is successful, Facebook will want to spread it to a greater number. That is why a page that does not have much engagement is not condemned to see its publications falling into deaf ears. An exceptional post may have to have more visibility.
– Previous interactions you have had with a page.
This may be the most important criterion, and that’s why it’s always said that you need to focus on the relationship with your community rather than the number of fans.
Indeed, the more people interact with your page (through comments, likes, shares, etc.), the more publications your page will appear in its news feed.
– The performance of your previous publications.
Again, if no one interacts with your publications, Facebook will only show them very little in the news stream of its users. Hence the importance of producing very qualitative content!
– The “weight” of the content.
To determine this weight, Facebook takes into consideration the number of people who interact with your content but also the type of interaction. A comment will have more weight than a simple ” like”. Moreover, the reactions (the new emojis) have a greater weight than the mentions “like”.
– The type of content.
Weight also depends on the nature of the content. Multimedia content (photos, video, GIF) weighs more heavily than text. And now, it’s mostly videos (published in native) and Lives Facebook that are all the rage!
The age of a publication is also considered by the Facebook algorithm. A post dating back several hours will have more difficulty appearing on the news feed when you log in, unless you have received a high commitment rate early. Hence the importance of publishing when your fans are there!
This is the main signals used by the Facebook algorithm. And these are just some of the signals that are used by the News Feed algorithm.
You now understand better the complexity behind this ranking algorithm!
In my opinion, what is important in this article is that, as always, the important thing is to produce as much engaging, useful and informative content as possible, rather than producing mass content of low quality.
Take advantage of multimedia, especially video and Facebook lives. I recently read an interesting statistic that 80% of web content will be video in 2019!