7 min. read

Facebook's 2019 Algorithm: Newsfeed & Ranking

Content Marketing - Posted: Monday, 11 November, 2019 - 11:21

Social media platforms regularly update their algorithms. This means you constantly have to refine your content tactics. How has Facebook's algorithm changed this year? What does it mean for your content? We did some research on your behalf, but there is so much to tell that we’ve split this blog into two parts. Today, in the first part, we look at how the 'Newsfeed’ works.

Why Do You See Certain Feeds?           

An algorithm is a formula that solves a problem in a number of steps. If you, as a content marketer or other type of marketer, want to beat Facebook's algorithm, you first have to understand why content is placed in your timeline.  In March 2019, Facebook started being more transparent about what you see in your timeline, and above all why you see it. Facebook's algorithm was changed to make your friends’ content more visible. "The new Facebook algorithm is a process that ranks all available posts that can be displayed on a user’s news feed based on how likely that user will have a positive reaction to it."

Come again?

Facebook released its news feed algorithm in 2019. This algorithm decides what is displayed in your news feed. Your news feed is designed to display the posts most relevant to you, and which you will most likely react positively to. Facebook ranks content to decide what is relevant to you, and literally organizes the content in your news feed based on four factors:

  1. Inventory
    All the posts available to display. In other words: What have your friends posted or what have the pages you follow posted? Facebook first creates a complete overview of these posts.
  2. Signals
    Your news feed is also determined by signals. Signals tell Facebook what each post is, so it can make decisions. They are composed of a whole range of pieces of data,such as: The age of a message, who posted it, the speed of your internet connection, and the kind of phone you use. Other aspects looked at include: How often you’ve liked a post from a friend, page or group. The frequency with which you react to videos, etc. Facebook uses feedback on these signals from the entire Facebook community, and also uses this to determine unwanted content,  such as graphic images, spam, clickbait and fake news.

    Facebook-signals
     
  3. Predictions
    Facebook analyses all the signals together to make predictions, as a result, Facebook monitors: The likelihood that you will share or react to content. The likelihood that you will hide or report content.
  4. Score
    Facebook analyses all these predictions and assigns a score. This is a final number based on the likelihood you will respond positively to a piece of content in your ‘inventory’. All content is then ranked according to its score. This process applies to all Facebook users, to all your messages, and every time you open your news feed.

In summary: Theoretically, you should see lots of content from friends, pages and groups that you follow and like. Facebook uses a range of factors to predict what you might find most interesting and defines a ranking of what you see and when.

However, posts from friends or pages that you like or follow aren’t the only things displayed on your news feed. Content in your news feed is ordered according to three signal categories; who you interact with, the type of medium, and the popularity.

For example, I notice in my news feed that my colleague Simon has liked a video from Adformatie (a Dutch website for Marketeers):

  • I don’t follow Adformatie on Facebook, at least not yet,
  • and Simon himself didn’t share the post.

So why is Facebook showing it to me? It could be the result of various signals gathered earlier.

  • Simon and I are friends on Facebook, we both studied communication, and we’re currently working together in a marketing department (interaction)
  • Adformatie is a marketing and communication company, an area in which both Simon and I share an interest. (Interaction)
  • The post has already been liked by 50 people (popularity)
  • I often watch videos (type of medium)

With the help of these signals (and probably lots of others) Facebook predicts that I will be interested in the content liked by Simon. Facebook is right too, as I like the post and Adformatie’s page so that I don’t miss any future content (#nonspon).

Conclusion

The new Facebook algorithm is complex and depends on a whole range of factors. A good understanding of why and how Facebook displays content in your news feed can help you sharpen your own content strategy. In the second part of the Facebook Algorithm blog, we highlight several tips that will make your content more visible on Facebook.