HOW FACEBOOK’S NEWSFEED ALGORITHM TAKES THE HARD WORK OUT FOR BUSINESSES
If you are avidly against Facebook it’s time to face the facts that you are fighting a lost battle. Facebook currently have 1.71 billion active users. It is the place people turn to for their information - from friend’s updates, finding out about local events or following the news of the world. Facebook provides it all.
For personal users, Facebook is excellent. But, using Facebook for business poses more of a problem. The newsfeed algorithm strikes fear into some peoples’ hearts. With Facebook plotting away how can you ensure people see your content? It is important to research how the newsfeed algorithm works to see that Facebook is doing most of the hard work for you.
In Zuckerberg’s first public Q&A back in 2014 he said: “Our goal is to build the perfect personalised newspaper for every person in the world.” Now, in 2016, it seems that Facebook has achieved this. While traditional media still has its value, Facebook cannot be ignored. The newsfeed algorithm tailors each feed to make sure that it is personalised to each users’ interests.
In 2006 Facebook first launched their newsfeed. People don’t often like change though, and unsurprisingly, people didn’t like the newsfeed.
The newsfeed had some original quirks and it forced Zuckerberg to rethink the privacy settings on Facebook. The original newsfeed allowed people to see everything a user posted, updated or was posted about them. The privacy settings allowed people to choose who saw their information and what information of theirs would get posted to Facebook. And thus, the newsfeed algorithm slowly took shape to create your personalised newspaper.
It started with engineers intuiting what they thought people would enjoy based on the information users provided to Facebook. But, in 2010 the launch of the ‘Like’ button meant Facebook engineers categorically knew what people liked.
Another feature added was the ability to ‘Hide’ posts, letting you chose to ‘See fewer posts like this’. Facebook were savvy though. They realised that some people were using the hide button to turn their newsfeed into an email inbox. Once these users saw a post, they hid it. It turned out that 5% of ‘Hiders’ were doing 85% of the hiding. In short, Facebook are pretty smart at figuring out how people use Facebook.
Facebook reckons that 1,500 posts are competing for your attention everyday. Out of those posts only around 100 make it to your newsfeed. These posts are the ones that Facebook believe you will enjoy and interact with either by liking, sharing, commenting or clicking on. Facebook work for businesses by directing posts to the relevant audience. But, (and this is the big but) you need to make sure your content is interesting and engaging in the first place. There is no point posting on Facebook for the sake of posting. Each post needs to have a target in mind. You need to ask yourself before posting - is this post something people actually want to see? If the answer is no, the ever updating algorithm isn’t going to give you the time of day.