Although we knew of its existence and, partially, of its operation, it was not until January 2018 when the term “algorithm” became part of worried and recurring conversations between marketers around the world. It was in that month that it was announced that Facebook’s algorithm would change. From then on, as Mark Zuckerberg announced, the content of “friends, family and groups” would be prioritized.
What is it?
Before talking about the change in the algorithm, let’s go a little further back and understand what it is about: it is a resource that, using a series of factors (we talk about more than 100.00), determines what will appear first in the feed of the Facebook main screen and, therefore, what the user will see when entering his profile every day on this platform.
Among the main factors that come into play are not only the preferences and interests of the users, they also consider their behaviour on the network, the interaction with their friends or how long they are reviewing a publication.
Other relevant factors are who published, when they did it (the more recent, the more possibility of appearing in the feed), what published (photos, texts, videos) was or what reactions the publications provoked (like, share, etc.).
You can imagine the amount of potential content ready to be shown to Facebook users. The algorithm organizes it according to the possibilities that exist for the user to interact with the content. Individual preferences of users are taken into account and priority is given to content that increases interaction such as videos. Hence, these appear first in the feeds as they have higher completion rates and attention than other formats.
Since January 2018, everything changed on Facebook and, as Zuckerberg announced at the time: “You will see less public content such as company publications, brands and media. And if that content wants to have some kind of reach, it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
This change in the algorithm led us to rethink the way we create and share content and prioritize these factors in our digital strategy:
Signs or considerations about content
It refers to everything that brands should focus on so that their content gets greater views on Facebook news. As recommended by content marketing specialist Alaura Weaver, it is not enough for the content to attract attention, “we must focus on what makes the content personal and worthy of conversation.” Hence, interactions such as reacting, sharing or commenting have more weight than passive ones, such as clicking.
In the new Facebook algorithm, the power to generate conversation is well valued. We must focus on creating content that inspires users to tag other contacts or friends and start a conversation. For example, by sharing brand content in our feed and receiving feedback and comments from our friends, this same post will be shown to other people and will increase the reach of the post.
That is why it is important for brands to include questions and calls to action. Be sure to create content related to relevant topics on which users have opinions. The more answers and comments a publication of this type has, the better visibility it will have.
The new algorithm will favour those publications with more complex reactions than the “like”. If a user has taken the time to press the heart icon, this post will be better placed in the news feed. Facebook seeks to prioritize “active” emotions.
Facebook uses the profile and those previous behaviours of the users to calculate how possible it is that they comment, interact or react to a publication keeping those that it considers are not relevant, out of the user’s reach.
Related to the value assigned to the content, and that will define how relevant it will be for the user. The higher the score, the more likely it is to appear in the feed. As it is such a customized system, it will not be the same for two users. Everyone will see what the algorithm considers most important according to behaviour and preferences. For example, brand publications shared by friends (and that these in turn react and share) through Facebook Messenger get better scores.
Here are more factors to consider about the Facebook algorithm:
- Type of story: is it a photo, a video, a link or a live video? Facebook notes that it is the live video that generates more conversations between users.
- Average time spent on the content: how much time has the user spent with this content, whether watching or participating?
- Informative relevance of the post: how significant is the published content?
- Profile integrity: the more fields are complete on the brand’s business page, the better. Thus, both Facebook and followers can have a clear idea of the brand, what it offers, who it is addressed to, etc.
- Authenticity: if the content has the appearance of spam or signs of sensationalism, it will not be well-positioned in the feed. Preference is given to authentic content, which communicates and connects with your audience. Not that just look for a click or “Like”
What to do?
Now that you are clear about how the Facebook algorithm works and which posts get the best scores and positions in the feeds, it’s time to work on creating relevant content that generates commitment, reactions and interactions.
Consider that the best-placed posts are the ones that generate the most conversations between friends. But how do we get it?
What your brand needs are to generate a conversation in the most natural way possible. Avoid phrases like “leave your comment” and seek to create attractive, irresistible publications that motivate the participation of your audience. Not just a “Like.”
In that way, including questions in your publications is a way to motivate participation. There are brands that go through controversial issues, although it is not enough just to launch the questions, users value those brands with a position on a topic better. A study by Sprout Social points out that 66% of consumers consider it important that brands take public positions in social and political issues, especially in social networks.
Humanize your brand
A good option to promote your brand on Facebook is considering your company’s employees. You can encourage them to share comments about your products or services on this social network. It is known that publications that come from family and friends (and not from a brand) are up to 16 times more likely to be read.
A partner of your brand can have up to 846 connections in social networks. Can you visualize the scope that means? Your team can be a great ally for the visibility of your brand.