The Facebook algorithm update – what it means for business

Facebook has a huge 2.2 billion monthly active users and accounts for one in every six minutes spent online. It uses an algorithm to determine what a user sees on their news feed and its latest algorithm update has caused concern for brands and companies worried that the new element named ‘Meaningful Interactions’ will downgrade their posts.

What it means is that Facebook will be prioritising posts that create ‘meaningful’ conversations which typically arise from family and friends. In other words, Facebook want your friends’ list to see more of your pet photos and less of the business and brand posted content which comes into your news feed.


Now that the new algorithm has been running for a couple of months (it was announced early in January) we have looked to see what’s been working, what has changed and how as an agency we can adapt our approach for our clients.


Three factors to consider

The main thing to remember is Facebook now believes a person-to-person connection is far more valuable than a person-to-page connection. So, what does that mean? There are three key factors (signals) to bear in mind:


  • Commenting
  • Sharing
  • Reacting




In a recent announcement by the Head of News Feed at Facebook, Adam Mosseri said:


“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in the News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”


Live videos are a fantastic way of engaging with your audience on a real-time basis, however in some situations it is hard to set this up so that you end up with a quality piece of content – normal video, even GIFs or images are also great ways of engaging your followers to get them commenting.


However, posts that ‘bait’ people into commenting can work negatively against your brand’s page. For example, “Comment YES if you want to win our prize”. Therefore, page managers need to create engaging and meaningful content without ‘baiting’ people in. (NB: this doesn’t apply to paid-for promotions/advertising campaigns).




The shared posts that get onto people’s newsfeeds are ones that spur on conversations amongst friends/connections.


For instance, if I were to share a post from the Genesis Facebook page and my friends start to react and comment on the post then it will increase the post’s reach even further. However, if I share it and no one engages with the content then it will begin to fall in the News Feed rankings.


The third factor that Facebook takes into account is Reactions (Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry).


Reactions remain a very strong form of engagement on posts and certainly help to reach further audiences. Facebook can’t expect everyone to always comment on or share posts, so reactions are a great way for the algorithm to quickly judge the quality of a post.


3 quick tips for improving your posts


As a page manager you should make sure your content focuses on ‘meaningful interactions’. Here are three quick tips to help you achieve this:


1. Focus on the sort of content that connects your followers and their friends.

  • Ask questions or post about relevant, up to date topics that they will have an opinion on.
  • Do not fall into the ‘engagement bait’ trap.

2. Encourage users to check that they have notifications turned on and either have your posts as ‘See first’ or ‘Default’ to make sure your content is being seen by them (see graphic below) – they have taken the time to ‘like’ your page after all.


The Facebook algorithm update – what it means for business


3. Post content that naturally creates interactions.

  • Video is a great way to achieve this and as earlier quoted: “live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos”
  • Pictures, GIFs, infographics, quotes, ‘fun facts’, memes…etc, are also great ways to engage your follows and get them increasing your brand awareness by sharing the content.
  • Free resources – e-books or whitepapers are a really good way to not only get email signups but also showing your breadth of knowledge on a certain subject matter. If your followers like what they see then they may want to engage by reacting – liking, commenting or even sharing your content.


Paid for posts


For targeted posts (e.g. important company updates), there is always the paid (advertising) route – these can be low cost, effective and be seen by whoever you select. Facebook ads are a great way to reach audiences you would never normally connect with (and your current follower base) and is a very cost-effective method of advertising.


Hopefully, this blog will help you in increasing your organic reach to your followers and their connections. If you would like any direction or a consultation, contact us to find out how we can help your business improve its social media presence.

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