The word ‘algorithm’ is a term that gets thrown around quite a lot. Most influencers and marketers use the algorithm as an excuse for poor engagement or zero return on ad spend, but can the algorithm be to blame for everything that goes wrong? And how can we sway the algorithm to work in our favour?
Yes, Facebook’s pay-to-play nature is making it more difficult to land on a person’s news feed – organically. It seems like Instagram is also following that route, but here is a bit of insight into the social media algorithm and why the company, Meta, introduced this to the social media platforms. Once you understand the algorithm better, it will be easier to create content that gets recognised as meaningful.
In 2018, Facebook announced their “Meaningful Interactions” update, where they explained how they calculate which content to show up on a person’s news feed. The idea behind this update was to prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.
Ultimately, content ranking is a dynamic partnership between people and algorithms. It’s important to understand how content is ranked, and how to make it work for you. If you understand how the algorithm works, you’ll be able to optimise for news feed exposure. This will guarantee more reach and higher engagement. The most recent change is that the platforms prioritise meaningful conversations over transactions, they don’t promote engagement baiting and encourage people to publish more native video content.
This ever-changing algorithm can be broken down into 4 steps. These are inventory, signals, predictions, and scores.
The Inventory of ALL the content available to display.
Facebook’s algorithm looks at the available content given by each of the user’s communities they’re already connected with (business pages and personal pages alike). Think of it like a monthly grocery list – all the important and interesting ingredients, the ‘luxuries’, nice-to-haves, and then the ones you can’t go without. Facebook knows who is your nearest and dearest, as well as the business pages a person likes to follow.
Inventory is based on your user experience, and what information you allow the platform to use.
Signals inform Facebook what each content piece entails. It considers all available data and tries to make an informed decision about how interested you may be in a certain content piece.
Signals are typically made up of who, what, where, when, and why. Here are just a few from The Social Media Examiner:
- Who posted a story?
- Posted from a friend or business page?
- When the story was posted (the day and time of day)
- How valuable is the content? This is determined via the average time spent on content
- Frequency of posts from that person
- Previous negative feedback
- Overall engagement a post already has
- Friend tags
- A recent comment from a friend
- Completeness of page profile
Facebook’s algorithm essentially is a prediction algorithm. They predict how you will react to a post. It uses the above-mentioned signals to calculate the probability of certain outcomes, like how likely it is based on your previous Facebook engagement that you’ll like or comment on a particular post. To a certain extent, you have control over the predictions. As a marketer, content creator, influencer, and page admin, it is in your hands to choose to complete your Facebook Page Business Profile, you can investigate your audience insights and choose to post content when your specific audience is most likely to be online, you can also focus on creating insightful content that will result in getting your audience to engage and interact. These are all factors that will help Facebook to determine that the content of your page is valuable enough to pop up on someone’s feed – organically.
This is based on all the factors above. After making these predictions and calculating the probabilities, Facebook consolidates the information into a relevance score, a number that represents how interested Facebook thinks you may be in a certain story. It also predicts whether you’ll click, comment, share, hide it, or even mark it as spam. It will predict each of these outcomes, and then combine them all to produce a single relevancy score specific to both you and that post. The predictions and score will work hand in hand. All you need to focus on is to ensure Facebook predicts that your content will deliver results and use the data available to optimise your content.
So, how do you make sure your Facebook content is optimised?
Create posts that are likely to result in people clicking on your links, photos, reading your captions, watching videos, and other content. Each business is unique, and therefore your audience is unique too - but thanks to available Audience Insights, you know better than anyone what makes your audience tick.
No matter how much the algorithm changes, if your brand creates valuable content for your audience, and sparks deep conversation, and high video views, chances are good that the algorithm will fall in love with your brand’s content.
Make sure that your brand stays authentic and meaningful – and the rest will follow.
If you require deeper insights into your social media marketing strategy, get in touch with our team here.