• Josie Hadley

How does the Facebook Algorithm Work?

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

As part of your business online marketing campaign, it’s likely that you’re connected to hundreds of even thousands of followers on your Facebook page that you believe are viewing your content on a daily basis. But, did you know that back in 2018, Facebook changed their algorithms, which significantly impacted the reach of content on business pages? If you had no clue about these changes, it’s best to keep reading and understand the question we’re going to discuss– How does the Facebook Algorithm Work? In basic terms, Facebook algorithm is the set of rules Facebook uses to decide on the type of content audiences wish to see. Gone are the days when you would open your newsfeed to see posts in chronological order. Instead, it’s now ultimately down to Facebook on what they believe will be of interest you. This dramatic change was put into action in January 2018, but many businesses were left unaware of how it was impacting their Facebook marketing campaign.

The reason for the change was due to the fact that Facebook became completely saturated with fake news which was making the platform appear untrustworthy and negative. Mark Zuckerberg was concerned that Facebook was gaining a poor reputation and steps were taken to stop this decline.

January 2018 – the huge change in Facebook’s algorithms

Facebook decided to take a stand against organisations that were using the social media platform to air fake news for financial gain and aimed to turn the site into an online space with ‘meaningful social interaction’. While both Facebook and consumers were pleased that the social media site was gaining some momentum back, many businesses were caught out, with the reach of their content being limited to only a few of its users.

For those who relied on Facebook to gain business revenue, this huge change become a terrifying thought. Gaining new leads became near enough impossible and those who sold products solely through Facebook were having a particularly hard time.

How does the Facebook Algorithm Work?

Now we’ve explained the impact of the January 2018 algorithm changes, let’s look at how Facebook algorithm works.

What are “Meaningful interactions”? In the past, Facebook were more concerned about how much time users were spending browsing through the social media site, rather than the quality of what users were witnessing. They ultimately allowed any business page to post content regardless of its validity. Nowadays, it’s all about how much ‘quality time’ users are spending on Facebook, rather than the amount of content passed through their newsfeed.

Facebook are now looking for users to make active interactions, such as commenting or sharing posts to determine how relevant each post is. Facebook believe that if a user has taken the time to react to a post, then it is deemed meaningful. Discussing the ideals of user comments; owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg said: “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect”.

Facebook now also takes into consideration the amount of sharing links to friends and engagement on shares.

How does Facebook algorithm work? Specifically for your business…

1. Focus on video

You may have noticed that over the past year or so, the number of news articles on newsfeeds has dramatically decreased and the emphasis on video has escalated. If you haven’t yet jumped onto the bandwagon of creating great video content for your business, now would be the time to do so. Whether it be promoting your product or service or creating entertaining yet, footage that users will find useful; this is a significantly large aspect of how Facebook algorithms work.

2. Avoid clickbait

Facebook once thrived on allowing business pages to ask their followers to take action – a typical example being: ‘Tag a friend who loves wine’. However, the recent algorithm change has picked up on the fact that this type of interaction isn’t natural, so is starting to relegate similar posts. You can still loosely use this tactic within your content, but instead, ask a question that gets users talking and encourages them to share opinions on matters they are passionate about. Make sure your post title is unique and engaging, so that it sparks conversation and brings people together.

3. Create quality content

As mentioned, creating posts should have a sole focus on what the audience wants to see. It can be difficult to understand what to include, therefore, you’re going to need to do a lot of research on your target audience’s interests, run a few tests and of course, check those all-import analytics. Not only are captions important, but also your choice of images.

If you start to notice a boost of interaction on your posts, you’ll become aware that you’re on the right path for beating Facebook’s algorithms.

4. Invest in ads and boost posts

As natural reach is becoming more difficult to achieve, many businesses are now looking to increase their reach by investing in paid ads. Facebook is now prioritising content from those who pay to have their content boosted, over those who rely on a natural reach. Why? Because Facebook can now earn high revenue from businesses who wish to reach the top spot on news feeds. For this tactic to work, businesses must know who their target audience is to ensure that their page content is being marketed to the right users.

5. Connect with influencers

By connecting with influencers, you don’t just have to rely on your own page reach to get your products or services noticed. Instead, you could pay influencers to promote your items on their own pages. ‘Influencers’ are those who have a large social media following themselves, who inspire their followers to take a certain action due to their influential position. Providing they have roughly the same target audience as your business and a substantial following, it is certainly an avenue worth pursuing as part of your online marketing campaign.

We hope this blog – how does the Facebook algorithm work? – has given you some insight into the topic, so you can change up your marketing campaign and hopefully notice an improvement on your reach and reactions.

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