Why some Facebook posts do better than others: Understanding Facebook’s Social Network Algorithm

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Why some Facebook posts do better than others: Understanding Facebook’s Social Network Algorithm

By Samantha Brooks on 4 April, 2018

With 2.13 billion monthly active Facebook users, chances are that you might be one of them, or at least have an understanding of what Facebook is. What a lot of people don’t understand is the complex algorithm that goes into understanding what Facebook thinks you want to see, and as a business, how it affects the reach you have online.

Facebook’s Social Media Algorithm in 2018

So what is this complex algorithm? And how does it affect my Facebook experience? Well when put simply, Facebook’s social media network algorithm is used to help make sense of the huge number of posts that people and businesses throw into your News Feed every day.

Who posted the content is very important. Naturally, the algorithm favours content posted by your friends and family. This is done because Facebook believes that prioritising posts from interpersonal relationships, such as friends and families will be more valuable than an interaction between person- to- page connections. This family and friend content is a lot more likely to spark more active engagement from users.

The type of content that is posted also has a significant influence on its ability reach a users News Feed. Let’s say that you have a deep love for music and on your Facebook you follow and engage (like, comment and share) on many local bands. Facebook’s algorithm collates all those interactions and infers that you must like music. So as a direct result, Facebook will prioritise band-related content that it thinks you will click on.

Along with this, the algorithm also considers the interactions with the post. If there are two posts that the algorithm thinks will fit well into your News Feed, and let’s say one has 4000 interactions, and the other has 40, the algorithm will assume that the post with more interactions will be more engaging and interesting to you.

The time when a post is created is usually a really important signal for relevance. If a post is newly created then it must surely be the most relevant post, right? Not entirely, you see the algorithm tries its hardest to use all the factors mentioned above to gauge if the post created now, is really more relevant then another post created earlier. An example of this could be your friends posting a photo of his lunch at the time, which could appear lower than your cousin’s wedding photos that she posted last week.

Essentially all these elements are involved in understanding the relevance of each post. The algorithm generates a relevancy score that is very specific for each user. This specific relevance score is applied to every single story. The higher the relevance score, the higher it will appear on the News Feed.

Key factors that affect your posts

When understanding what type of content that Facebook will prioritise in the News Feed, it is important to also consider the difference between active and passive interactions. The passive (neutral) interactions are as you imagine them to be, those mindless procedures we performance when scrolling, the main examples would be clicking, watching and viewing/ hovering.  It is the active (positive) interactions, such as commenting, sharing and reacting that have an influence on the algorithm.

1. Commenting

Commenting has the most power in making your posts relevance score rise. A pages post that generates conversation between people and a desire to share and react to will show higher in the News Feed. A post should focus on being relevant and insightful towards your audience.  Be warned to not use “engagement bait” tactics though, examples of this could be “Tag a friend who would like to buy this car”. These tactics will now lead to the post having a lower relevance score.

2. Sharing

Back in the day, when someone shared your post, then all of his or her friends would also be able to see the post, increasing reach dramatically.  Now, the shared content has to generate comments and conversation between people for the reach to increase. If a post is shared and generates no comments or reactions from friends, then the post will fall on the News Feed. From this, it is quite clear that Facebook likes shared posts that generate conversation and the best ways for this to occur is within Messenger and through comments on the post.

3. Reacting

Even though reacting does not hold as much weight as commenting and sharing, it still remains a form of active engagement on posts. As a result of this, reacting still helps posts reach more people across the News Feed. Reacting to posts is Facebook’s way of introducing a level of quality control into the News Feed. Not everyone is going to comment or share a post, with reactions; a person is very easily able to gauge their opinion on content allowing the algorithm to understand what you might like or dislike.

How to use the Algorithm to help your business succeed

As a business, the challenge now lies in being able to generate a meaningful interaction with the content you post through people commenting, sharing and reacting to your posts. In particular, this is how Fuse Agency can help your business by ‘creating content that connects people, creating content across numerous platforms and provide content that appeals to people. Contact us today and let’s see how we can elevate your business on Facebook.


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