Facebook offers clarity on getting brand messages to audiences through News Feed

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 9 May, 2016
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Any brand that uses Facebook knows how important the News Feed is – and many of the algorithms which keep it running are famously kept secret, to ensure brands aren’t able to exploit the system.

Unfortunately, for some business pages, this does mean that a percentage of the audience will miss out on certain messages and won’t see certain posts, because of the sophisticated algorithms which dictate who sees what, and when.

Fortunately, Facebook’s VP of Product, Adam Mosseri, has  shed some light on  exactly how Facebook’s News Feed actually works in a video posted in April.  Here’s a run down of the key points he covered.

The crux of news feed

Mosseri said Facebook defines the News Feed as a way of connecting people with the stories that matter most to them. This includes a combination of posts from friends and updates from businesses and brands, both organic and sponsored. 

Every user’s News Feed is totally unique. The system has been designed to take into account each user’s preferences and actions, rather than being dictated by content itself. Facebook attempts to serve you posts that are based on your interests - how likely you are to engage with a certain post and how interested you might be in reading it. The following criteria are taken into account:

  • Who posted the update? Does the user engage with content from this brand or user often?
  • Type of content. How often does the user engage with videos, links, images or text? Users that spend a lot of time watching videos on Facebook will naturally see more videos on their feed.
  • Interactions with the post. The number of interactions a post already has also comes into play – posts with high levels of interactions are more likely to be deemed important and will show up on more feeds (a huge contributing factor in content ‘going viral’).
  • When it was posted. Facebook doesn’t want to clog your feed up with news from months ago. It will try to select the most recent and relevant updates for you.

Relevancy scores

Every post on Facebook is given a Relevancy Score – but this is linked to the user, not the content itself. It’s based on the predicted levels of interest derived from  the four criteria above. The entire presentation of the News Feed is based on these results, and all stories will be ranked using this system.

Working in reverse

The system also takes into account things that you might wish to hide from Facebook. By unfollowing or hiding posts on Facebook, you’re giving the platform more information about the type of content you’d like to see, which can personalize the News Feed even further. When you hide posts from Facebook, Mosseri confirmed that Facebook will strive to show less similar content on your News Feed in the future

The effect for publishers

With this new information, publishers are better informed about how and why they can get their content seen by the right people. 

Mosseri also provided a few handy tips, including writing compelling headlines that don’t sound too much like clickbait, avoiding overly promotional posts and trying different combinations of posts: long-form, video, image, link, etc. 

Publishers trying to get the very best out of News Feed now have a useful tick-list, which will prove hugely valuable when it comes to Facebook marketing. You can watch the video in full here

To brush up on your Facebook skills, visit our Academy.


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