An often-heard complaint from social media marketers and Facebook users alike is the lack of information detailing exactly how the Facebook News Feed functions.
Yesterday, Facebook announced they will start publishing blog updates educating people about the news feed algorithm and highlighting future changes.
This change is set to improve perceptions of Facebook among users, businesses, and, most important to Facebook, advertisers.
With that said, there are some significant changes being made to the News Feed algorithm, as Facebook announced recently.
Resurfacing Older Stories Leads to Higher Engagement
In the past, you would be shown top ranked updates based on the last time you logged in to Facebook.
This meant that if you didn’t scroll down far enough, there was a good chance you would never see certain updates.
Facebook has now introduced a feature called Story Bumping, which allows updates to reappear at the top of your news feed even it’s out of chronological order.
Whether a story is “bumped” to the top or not seems to be dependent on how much engagement that story is getting — those updates that are receiving more likes and comments are most likely to receive the Story Bump.
According to Facebook, this new ranking factor has led to a “5% increase in the number of likes, comments and shares on the organic stories people saw from friends and an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on the organic stories they saw from Pages.”
Facebook also released this data about the news feed prior to this change:
People read 57% of the stories in their News Feeds, on average. They did not scroll far enough to see the other 43%. When the unread stories were resurfaced, the fraction of stories read increased to 70%.
In other words, more updates are being read by more people and that’s a good thing for all of us.
Facebook also revealed a factor called Last Actor, which monitors the last 50 people you have interacted with and shows you more content from those individuals.
For example, if you often Like or comment on someone’s photos, you’re more likely to see photos from that individual in the future compared to someone who you never interact with on Facebook.
It’s not clear whether Last Actor impacts pages the same as it does profiles, but it’s worth assuming this is the case.
For businesses, that means engagement is key as it always has been. You want your page to be in the last 50 interactions of your fans in order to frequently have updates show in their news feeds.
Does This Mean EdgeRank is Gone?
According to sources within Facebook, the term “EdgeRank” is no longer used, because it doesn’t exactly give an accurate picture of how the news feed works.
In that sense, yes, EdgeRank is gone.
However, the components of EdgeRank are still in full effect — here are still specific weights placed on engagement and interaction, which determine where an update appears in the news feed.
Basically, what we have now is a slightly different, more complex EdgeRank, but we’re not supposed to call it EdgeRank.