How Does The Facebook Newsfeed Really Work?


How Facebook Newsfeed works?
Facebook Pages today are faced with a much tougher challenge of keeping their boat afloat owing to the evolution of the Facebook newsfeed algorithm. Facebook weighs in a lot of quality factors, which collectively decide how many people can a post reach. This, coupled with the ever-intensifying competition for feed space means that Pages have to fight for every inch, like literally! Following up on our recent post about Negative Feedback and its impact on Reach, we'll discuss the whole newsfeed ranking process in a bit more detail.
Not reaching most of its fans is any page's biggest concern. Facebook wants brands to pay for organic reach. While some pages who can afford to, take the bait, others like Eat24 aren't as compromising, and end up ditching their entire Facebook campaign. One big reason as to why this is happening is, Facebook is trying to filter out the 'bad guys' since there's surplus content but a lack of space.

Filtered Newsfeed

The number of pages liked by people has increased, yet the newsfeed stays the same. This means more competition. According to Facebook, an average user might have 1500 posts eligible to appear in their feed each day. As people continue to like more pages, organic reach for each of these pages decreases. This is confirmed by the fact that even though there was a 50% increase in the amount of pages liked by people in the last year, there's also a roughly 50% decrease in the organic reach for these pages.

All Pages and people are not treated equally because Facebook’s goal is to show people the most engaging posts out of all the ones they could see each day. Facebook’s ability to earn money showing ads and pursue its mission to connect the world hinges on people coming back because they see interesting content there and don’t get bored. This puts Facebook in the very tough position of choosing what content gets shown and what doesn’t. Of course, Facebook cannot show all the posts in a reverse-chronological manner due to the sheer spam and noise that could drown out important messages.

How posts are sorted in the newsfeed

Most of you already know that there's a News Feed sorting algorithm, unofficially known as EdgeRank, that analyzes every signal possible to determine the relevance of each post to each person. Roughly 100,000 different indicators of importance are factored in. Some of the most powerful determinants of whether a post is shown in the feed are:
  • Popularity of past posts (i.e. Clicks, Likes, Comments and Shares etc.) with everyone
  • Popularity of past posts with the viewer
  • Popularity of current post
  • What type of posts (photo, video, link, status update etc.) are popular with a viewer, and what type of post is being shared right now
  • Age of a post
This means the more successful a post is, and the more popular its creator is amongst everyone and the potential viewer, the more likely that viewer is to see the post. The fact that someone Liked a Page or added a friend at some point over the years doesn’t matter nearly as much. It’s whether the Page continues to be interesting to everyone and to any specific potential viewer of their posts.

Essentially, everyone has to earn their space in News Feed. If they publish posts that are interesting enough to get likes, comments, shares, and clicks, their reach increases. If their posts bore people and are ignored and scrolled past by anyone who sees them, their reach decreases. And since the natural trend is for reach to shrink as competition grows, Pages have to work harder and harder to stay visible.

Basically, Facebook wants you to spend money on it - as much money as you can. Ads are the only way to beat the system. Facebook used used to tell companies to buy Likes as a long-term investment. But now, that investment has gone for most companies. For them to regain that chunk of money, or at leat a part of it, companies now have to spend even more money. Luring them into a trap - sound business strategy for Facebook, not so much for the companies out there.

What do you think about Facebook? Should one continue spending time and money on Facebook? Is it worth the effort, or will it be worth the effort a few years from now, given what Facebook has done with companies? Let's hear what you think!

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