What is the Facebook Algorithm and what does it mean for me?

Algorithms Explained: Facebook Basics

If you are using Facebook to promote your business, engage with an audience or grow your online influence, understanding algorithms is critical! In this article we explore what the Facebook algorithm is and help you to understand what you should be doing to maximise your reach.

In the early years, what appeared in our Facebook feed was based on what was posted most recently. This encouraged businesses and people to essentially spam (post less meaningful or irrelevant material) just to get noticed. Facebook took action and developed algorithms that attempt to predict what is important to us and to prioritise what we see first in our newsfeeds.

Over time, these algorithms have evolved and Facebook has a team dedicated to constantly refining these algorithms to ensure it stays relevant and highly valued by users.

In 2018, Facebook users started to see significant changes that will continue well into 2019 and 2020.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO at Facebook, confirmed this by stating “…public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other”. It is for this reason he announced a major shift in the focus of algorithm teams. Rather than focusing on prioritising content the algorithm determines is important to us, it will focus on helping us to “…have more meaningful social interactions”.

What does this mean for your online presence?

Many businesses and influencers, who have spent significant time and money to build large followings, have rightfully complained about the impact the changes have had on their reach. Some businesses report seeing a reach of only 1.5-3% on posts. Clearly now more than ever it is vital to understand the type of content that will be prioritised and how to achieve it.

In upcoming posts we will explore in more detail the ever changing Facebook algorithm. There are some basics that you can implement in the meantime that will almost certainly be in the algorithm for quite some time to come.

Three basics:

  1. Create original content. The Facebook algorithm identifies generic images, particularly those that have been posted before. Using an image you have used previously is likely to be deprioritised.
  2. Stay current and consider live content. Zuckerberg has highlighted how viewing content has become a passive experience. He highlights that people “interact way more around live videos than regular ones”. Take this information and use it to your advantage!
  3. Create engaging content. Whilst a ‘like’ indicates some level of engagement, comments, shares, and survey interactions are much better indicators. Time spent on a post, reading other people’s comments, also indicates a user is much better engaged with a post than a simple ‘like’ and move on. Create posts that will generate discussion.

Whilst these tips may seem basic, it is isn’t too hard to find pages that are making the same basic mistakes.

We will dive deeper into the algorithm discussion in upcoming content and speak with industry professionals that are already doing this well.

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