Facebook has made yet more changes – this time to the algorithm that affects its News Feed – here’s the transcript – if you’d like to listen to the podcast instead – you can download that from the news / podcast page.
This is Julie South and you’re listening to the HaloBizTip Podcast. HaloBiz is all about helping to stimulate word-of-mouth in your world-of-mouse. We polish business halos in the online world using smart & sharp digital marketing strategies like website design, software development and content creation.
This podcast is all about “changes Facebook has made in regard to “high quality content and how it affects a business’s Facebook Page”
Where to start with this podcast? Firstly, I’m right into “high quality content” and when the search engines make alterations to their algorithms that mean we get to see fewer spammy-type websites in our search queries I’ll be the first to say it’s a good thing.
However, what I don’t think is a good thing is Facebook’s latest changes and how this change affects business’s Facebook posts and their fans’ ability to see those posts.
Now – so I cannot be accused of being biased or having an axe to grind or anything like that I’m going to quote direct from Facebook for business’s news page entitled “showing more high quality content” – I’m altering it from the first to the third person so it’s easier to understand:
Every day people see content from millions of Pages on Facebook in their News Feeds. Facebook’s goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. As part of that Facebook wants to make sure that the best quality content is being produced, surfaced and shared. Their latest update to the News Feed ranking algorithm helps ensure that the organic content people see from Pages they are connected to is the most interesting to them.
How does Facebook find “high quality content”?
While the goal of News Feed is to show high quality posts to people, Facebook wanted to better understand what high quality means. To do this they decided to develop a new algorithm to factor into News Feed. To develop it, they first surveyed thousands of people to understand what factors make posts from Pages high quality. Some of the questions they asked included:
- Is this timely and relevant content?
- Is this content from a source you would trust?
- Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
- Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
- Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
- Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?
Facebook used the results of this survey to build a new machine learning system to detect content defined as high quality. The system uses over a thousand different factors, such as how frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (e.g., hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages. Coming up with an algorithm to detect this is complex and they’ll continue to refine it as they get more feedback.
Once Facebook developed this algorithm, they added it to their News Feed ranking algorithms as another factor to calculate the score of a News Feed story. They tested the new version of the ranking algorithm with a small segment of their users:1 based on a random sample of 21million users over a one week period in August 2013.
- By showing these high quality posts higher up in News Feed, we saw a significant increase in interactions (likes, comments, shares) with this content
- People in the test group also hid fewer stories overall
Now, apparently, these results suggest that this change shows more people higher quality content and more interesting stories from the Pages they are connected to. Facebook will be rolling out this update to everyone over the next few weeks.
What should you expect?
For most Pages the impact should be relatively small, but Pages that are seeing good engagement on their posts could see further increases in reach. The bottom line is that your Page strategy should still stay the same: produce high quality content and optimize for engagement and reach. You can do this by focusing on these tips when creating your Page posts:
- Make your posts timely and relevant
- Build credibility and trust with your audience
- Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
- Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”
Here at HaloBiz we look after a number of small business Facebook Pages. Some of them we’re the only ones responsible for posting content and on others we oversee and guide the content.
None of the Pages we manage has changed its tactics as far as content creation is concerned but these changes have created a negative impact.
I’m yet to be convinced that these changes are for the better. Again, in my humble opinion, Facebook has made it yet harder still for businesses to get in front of the fans who want to see what they post.
Oh! I forgot to mention – Page Admins CAN increase their posting exposure to generate the engagement they had prior to this move. All you have to do is spend some Facebook dollars promoting your posts / advertising your wares!
You’ve been listening to Julie South from HaloBiz serving up a HaloBizTip one sound byte at a time. To receive these sound bytes direct into your inbox sign up for yours today at halobiz.co.nz. If you’ve got any questions or comments please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.