The essentials of Facebook’s algorithm changes

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Facebook recently announced tweaks to its display algorithm that could make a big impact on your social media marketing strategy.

After various tests, customer surveys, and other studies, the newsfeed will no longer be a random display of posts. There is now a scientific method that will affect end users, businesses, and search engines. The good news is that the understanding of this algorithm could boost your productivity when marketing on Facebook.

Content value

What qualifies as valuable? That is where your view and the social network’s assessment may differ. However, to keep it simple, Tech Crunch put together a diagram. Check it out.

 

As mentioned in the infographic, Facebook’s algorithm examines about 100,000 highly personalized factors that make it impossible to determine with certainty what information will be shown to which users.

Here are the most important factors:

  • Interest of the user of Facebook in the creator of content being shared. This is determined by number of visits to the brand’s page and other factors.
  • The post’s performance with other users. If no one is paying attention, “liking,” or commenting, the post is less likely to be displayed in newsfeeds.
  • Creator. The amount of activity on previous posts matters when determining whether newer posts will be displayed.
  • Type. This is fairly new and highly individualized; if a user generally pays the most attention to photos, that’s what they’re likely to see on their newsfeed; if they gravitate toward status updates, those posts are given prominence.
  • Recency. The newer the post, the more likely it is to be shown.

Consider this formula when creating content: If it’s not actionable, interesting, and frequent, it’s not likely to perform well.

The new algorithm change

Discussed in detail on Facebook’s news page, the algorithm changes are designed to cut down on “marketing” spam. Whether your company offers information about how to trap a fox or it helps people prepare for retirement, these changes should affect how you spend your time—and your end results.

Discouraging repeats

Just because a post has done well in the past, and even if it went viral, it’s probably not in your best interest to repeat it, especially not time and time again. Under the new algorithm, information that has been shared by the same original poster more than once will lose display privileges.

[RELATED: Prepare your corporate communications for a content war! Register for Ragan’s Corporate Communicators Conference in Chicago.]

Inaccurate posts = spam

Information should be clear. It should be clear where a link in a status update will lead. Sending users to ad-filled websites or pages not relating to the initial content will be considered spam-like activity. Perpetrators will be downgraded in priority and penalized. Be sure users know what they will be shown should they click a link on your Facebook page.

False pretenses

You’re probably familiar with “like”-bating. This includes “like and share this post for your chance at a $ 50 gift card” and similar ploys. Doing this occasionally is not bad practice, but Facebook’s new algorithm will pick up on pages where this happens continually, and it will stop displaying its content in feeds. Proceed with caution.

Although these changes may seem minor, you should pay attention to your “display” rates (shown at the bottom of each post to admins) and make changes accordingly. Your Facebook marketing results could improve greatly.

Kayla Matthews is a business solutions blogger. You can check out all of her latest posts by following her on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.  

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