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Where Marketers Go to Grow

April 21, 2015 // 2:36 PM

Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Balance Content From Friends Vs. Pages

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Today, Facebook announced three brand new updates to the News Feed algorithm specifically meant to improve user experience. How? By providing a better balance of updates from friends versus updates from businesses, publishers, public figures, and local organizations.

Every time Facebook updates its algorithm, brands and marketers freak out. To help you quickly get to the bottom of this change, here's a quick rundown of the three News Feed algorithm updates and how they might affect your Page.

Update 1: If users run out of content to see but want to spend more time reading their News Feed, more (and possibly duplicate) content will show up.

The first update to Facebook's algorithm is meant to improve the experience for users who don't have a lot of content available on their News Feeds. Before this update, Facebook prevented users from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. They've relaxed this rule now, so if people run out of content but are still scrolling through their News Feed, they might see multiple posts from the same source.

Update 2: Updates from close friends will appear higher in the News Feed.

Facebook received feedback from users who were concerned they were missing important updates -- like photos, videos, status updates, or links -- from the friends they care about most. This is a concern especially for users who have a lot of potential content to see in their News Feeds on a daily basis. This won't eliminate posts from Pages altogether, but it's an attempt to balance content better. That balance will be different for each individual user.

Update 3: Stories about friends Liking or commenting on posts will appear lower in the News Feed (or not at all).

This update is based on feedback from users who said they don't like seeing stories about their friends Liking or commenting on posts, as in the example below. With this update, users are more likely to see posts from friends and Pages they've Liked.

facebook-update-comment

How will this affect your Page?

According to Facebook's announcement, impact on Page distribution will "vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity." They do warn that post reach and referral traffic could decline in some cases.

Two key takeaways here:

  1. Continue posting valuable content that's relevant to your target audience -- and focus on crafting better Facebook posts instead of overwhelming your followers with a lot of Facebook posts.
  2. If you're finding your reach is declining, you might want to beef up the content on your website and then improve your social sharing options. That way, instead of your content getting on Facebook only by publishing on behalf of your brand, you're getting more people to share your content on their personal Facebook accounts -- which could ultimately help you reach a larger audience.

What do you think about this update? What other takeaways do you have? Share with us in the comments!

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Topics: Social Media

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