At the end of 2019, the average coverage of Facebook posts fell by 2.2%, which means that brands can rightly expect that only 5.5% of subscribers will see their posts. Large brands with a large audience can have even less performance.
Of course, the algorithm for generating a Facebook news feed is not the only thing that affects coverage (for example, the constant growth of the social network audience), but, nevertheless, this is one of the main factors.
Since 2018, the algorithm has been constantly updated, and Facebook is trying hard to increase the value and meaningfulness of the time that users spend on the network.
But in 2020, Facebook decided to focus on making its platform more open to users and giving people more direct control over what they see in the news feed. For example, Facebook conducted numerous polls, collecting data and opinions directly from users – what they are interested in and whatnot. And he even added a button to publications, clicking on which you can find out why the post is shown in your stream.
So, Facebook decided to focus on users. What should brands do? Spend money on paid promotion of absolutely every post? No worries, the Hootsuite team has put together strategic tips for working effectively with Facebook in 2020.
How Facebook Algorithm Changed
First, a little history:
- In 2009, Facebook introduced the first semblance of an algorithm: a news feed began to take shape depending on the popularity of each post.
- In 2015, Facebook introduced the “See First” feature, which enabled users to select the pages that should appear at the top of the feed. The platform also began to lower in the feed pages that posted too many publications with advertising subtext.
- In 2016, Facebook began to give priority to posts from friends and family, as well as informative and entertaining content. The algorithm also began to measure the value of a post based on the number of times users spent watching it, even if they did not share or like. Live video broadcasts were also a priority, as they received three times as much viewing time as regular videos.
- In 2017, the algorithm began to evaluate user reactions to the post (angry face, etc.) above ordinary likes. Also, the rating of video viewing to the end was added to the video rating.
- In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that now the news feed algorithm will give priority to posts that trigger discussions and meaningful interactions. The purpose of the innovation is to bring to the forefront quality, not the amount of time that users spend online, and also take more responsibility for how the platform affects its users. At the same time, brands had well-founded fears that their organic content would no longer be rated as highly as content from family, friends, and groups. Since the algorithm prioritized posts that collected high-quality interactions (comments, reactions, responses to comments, sharing in the messenger), it turned out that companies had to have this involvement at a high level in order to get coverage to increase user engagement.
- In March 2019, a study from NewsWhip showed that while Facebook engagement is increasing by 50% from year to year, changes in the algorithm also increase contention and insults on social networks, as they promote posts that excite people. At the same time, the algorithm began to track low-quality content and fake news from unreliable sources who knew how to trick the system in order to get the maximum attention of users.
The Facebook algorithm will probably always be in the process of improvement. So let’s look at what’s important for brands that want to improve organic reach.
How Facebook algorithm will work in 2020
Now the algorithm shows posts in the news feed in such a way that each user sees them in the order in which he will like the most and will be interesting. And for this, the system uses certain ranking factors.
Ranking factors are data on the past behavior of a particular user and the behavior in the principle of all users of the platform. For example, do people share this post with friends? How often does a user like his boss’s posts? What about mom? How often does he watch live events? What is his favorite band? How many posts are technically available to him now? How fresh are they?
Those. The algorithm weighs many factors before deciding whether to show you the same video with a little puma.
Facebook mentions three large categories of ranking factors:
- Who the user usually interacts with
- The type of media in the post (video, link, photo, etc.),
- The popularity of the post.
In March 2019, Facebook announced a tool aimed at giving users more transparency and control over what is shown in the news feed. Button “Why do I see this post?” does exactly what it promises: it helps the user understand why the algorithm shows this particular post in the news feed.
It also allows people to “tell” the algorithm directly what is important to them and what is annoying. Those. Users can tell Facebook that they want to see fewer posts from a specific person or see more posts from a specific business page.
Also Read: How to create a brand: 5 steps for beginners
In May 2019, Facebook conducts user polls to find out directly to their audience what content is important to them. The polls were as follows:
- Who are their close friends
- What posts (links, photos, videos) do they consider valuable,
- How important is the particular group in which they belong,
- How interested are they in the context of certain business pages to which they are subscribed.
During the processing of responses, the social network highlighted certain patterns, which were then added to the algorithm. For example, the pages and groups that users designated as the most important often were those they had long subscribed to, often interact, and those who had many posts and activities.
9 tips for working with the Facebook algorithm
What brands can do to be sure that their Facebook strategy matches the priorities of the social network algorithm:
Start conversations that will stimulate communication
According to Facebook, one of the key signals of the ranking algorithm is whether the user has previously interacted with this page. And since no one is going to interact with your page, as would be the case with the friend’s page, the likes and shares received during the lively conversation under the post will play an important role in increasing the reach of your future publications.
Therefore, you need to work hard before the algorithm begins to understand and pay tribute to the value of your page. At the same time, you don’t need to slip into low-quality ways of attracting likes and comments (the algorithm recognizes them and can lower the post and page in the feed), try to appeal to the feelings of users (even a video with kittens is useful here).
Post when your audience is online
Freshness is another ranking factor that is important when the algorithm chooses which post to show users. The newer the better. Published just now – perfect. To find out when your audience is online, it’s better not to rely on average data from general research, but to use special analytical tools.
Do not post content for which you may be lowered in the stream
There are several categories of posts for which, according to Facebook, the algorithm will immediately lower the page in the feed:
- Links to sites that use copied content without any value,
- Content that may be offensive, but not prohibited, as they say, “balances on the edge”,
- Fake news,
- Misleading health or treatment information,
- Video with inaccurate information created to manipulate user reactions.
Post-high-quality videos lasting more than three minutes
In May 2019, Facebook announced that the news feed would show more quality and original videos. The following factors were strengthened in the algorithm:
- Loyalty and intention: a video that users search and watch several times,
- Video length and viewing duration: videos that users watch for more than one minute, and videos that last more than three minutes,
- Original: videos that are not republished from other sources and which have their own value.
Also, do not forget about live video broadcasts on Facebook, which receive six times more engagement than regular videos.
According to Facebook, pages that regularly post posts are more likely to be more useful to their audience. Therefore, the frequency of publications is a ranking factor that can affect how high your posts are in the news feed. So don’t drop the content calendar: a well-thought-out publication plan will help maintain audience engagement and attention.
Use groups that are important to your audience.
At the FB conference in 2019, it was announced that groups continue to be one of the most valuable parts of Facebook, according to user behavior. The key point here is the phrase Facebook, that people “can see more content from groups in the news feeds.”
What can brands do? Create your own group based on a page where you can conduct discussions, post educational content, solve user problems and do not forget about entertaining publications.
Support Organic Posts with Paid Ads
While organic content can help strengthen relationships with your audience, Facebook ads remain the best way to increase brand awareness among your millionth social network audience.
Tell users how to prioritize content in the news feed.
As Facebook moves toward greater transparency in ranking news feed content, the audience has more control over what it sees. Therefore, tell your subscribers that they can put posts on your page in priority display in the stream. However, for this, you have to post just such content that subscribers will never want to miss.
Use your employees as influencers
It’s great if employees love to talk about their company and brand. After all, they have friends and followers who might be interested in your page.