Facebook has been working hard to improve the content which shows up in the average user’s News Feed. Like the search engines, Facebook is trying to get around the marketers who are simply trying to game the system, and reward the content which users actually find useful. In a recent announcement, Facebook said that over the next several weeks another update to the algorithm that decides what will show up in the News Feed will be rolled out across the social network.
This update, Facebook says, is in direct response to a recent survey they performed with Facebook users. In the survey they asked questions about whether the source of specific content was trustworthy, and whether or not the user felt the content was actually interesting, or if they only interacted (liked/shared/commented) because they were told to by the content itself.
Facebook took the results of this survey and built in a new system which will allow their algorithm to ‘learn’ what most users believe to be actual high-quality content, and what isn’t. It uses over 1000 different factors ranging from the frequency the content is reported (hiding a post) to how well the page’s profile is completed. It also compares the list of people who ‘liked’ a post with lists of other known low-quality pages. It seems this will further reduce the value of buying ‘likes.’
In the announcement, Facebook reported that in their testing, the new changes resulted in “a significant increase in interactions (likes, comments, shares) with this content” as well as a reduction in the number of hidden stories. It is estimated that most page owners will not see a major impact from the change, though those which are already experiencing high levels of organic engagement, will likely see an increase in this interaction.
Facebook is clearly trying to improve the content that user’s see, which seems to be the trend with all information providing sources including social networks and search engines. What are your thoughts on this change? Will it affect how you use Facebook for marketing? Please, share in the comments below.