If you’ve been running a business for at least the past 4 years (and actively promoting it on Facebook), you will have definitely seen the drastic decrease in engagement and clicks your posts or promotions receive. In the world of digital marketing, it’s almost old news that organic posts are essentially ‘dead in the water’, yet prospective clients still ask us time and time again what has happened to their engagement levels, why aren’t they receiving the reach they once had, why is their referral traffic from Facebook decreasing? Because of this confusion, we thought we’d do a brief write up to explain just what’s going on in the Facebook realm of organic posting.
Without venturing into the deep dark depths that is coding, Facebook’s Algorithm is essentially a sequence put in place which determines which stories/posts will be shown in each user’s newsfeed. Think of the Algorithm as one huge digital fishing net. Now think of all the content on a users Facebook. People on average follow over 200 brand pages and on top of this, have on average 500 friends. Now that’s a lot of content being posted on a day to day basis. The news feed doesn’t have the space to show every single post, from every single account that the user follows, so instead, Facebook deploy their ‘net’ to catch all of the content, and then lets certain posts trickle through to individual users news feeds.
Good question. And one that is constantly adapting and leaving us as marketers ever on the balls of our feet!
The most up to date Algorithm change saw the death of click bait posts (Thank God!) and the introduction of “meaningful content”, which essentially favoured stories from friends and family over businesses. The latest Facebook algorithm ranks all available posts that can display on a user’s news feed based on how likely that user will have a positive reaction.
The online actions of each Facebook user, from making a comment on a photo, liking a post or posting a video, are all signals to the algorithm of what content you might be interested in or not. Put simply, you are essentially being monitored when on the platform (let’s not get into the cambridge analytica controversy). Facebook’s objective is to keep everybody happy, they do this by learning as much as they can about each of their users, enabling them to provide an experience on Facebook that is as relevant to the user as possible.
A quick example: If a user almost always searches for the latest snowboarding gear from a snowboard brand when they open Facebook, Facebook will automatically assume that this user is interested in snowboarding. This then informs the algorithm that any snowboarding brands / snowboarding related posts should be given priority in their feed.
The only thing a business needs to know about content ranking is that every one of your posts will send out “Signals” to Facebook’s algorithm. There are two types of signals:
Passive: include view time, story type, time posted, and other non-active metrics.
Active: include likes, shares, comments and other events that prompt engagement.
Taking the above into account, as a business you now need to start to tailor your content around positive engagement, or what Facebook has identified as “meaningful interactions”. This means creating content that is highly personable, targeted, relevant and is likely to provoke a comment, reply, like or share. The more authentic and valuable the content, the higher the engagement is likely to be, resulting in more reach for your business.