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Facebook algorithm - what do the changes mean for social?

Beth  Nunnington, Senior Account Manager

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Beth Nunnington

Senior Account Manager

If you’re wondering why your Facebook posts have received fewer views recently, it’s likely to be due to a new algorithm change.

Just like Google, Facebook has an algorithm - a process that deems who will see your post and when it will be visible to them. 

Previously, Facebook’s algorithm, called Edge Rank, was largely focused on the timing of a post. The post was then penalised as a result of time decay, so once it was a day or so old it would quickly stop becoming visible to users.

In October this year, Facebook made a big change and updated its algorithm with a ‘Story Bumping’ function - an event which marketers are still arguing over. Is this a new algorithm altogether, or just a new edition to Edge rank?

Unlike before, Story Bumping isn’t focused on timings but instead prioritises engagement, therefore ‘bumping’ a story into your newsfeed that you may not have seen during your first browsing session that day. A post will get ‘bumped’ up every time a person comments or likes it, regardless of how much time has passed since the initial post, meaning the more popular a post the more people will see it. 

This is Facebook’s response to its users' complaints that their newsfeeds were becoming too spammy. By focusing primarily on engagements, Facebook is ensuring its members only see the very best of posts and improving their user experience – forcing brands to be more creative when posting content. 

Facebook has stated: “Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of News Feed if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.” 

The key to winning the Story Bumping challenge is to think about how to best engage your users. Social Media Today recommends a call to action in at least 50% of social posts, for example asking users to ‘like’ or give a comment if they agree or disagree with the content. Although this may sound a bit, er desperate, in our experience users are quite receptive to calls to action and research has proved that posts asking people to ‘like’ often get more likes than those which don’t.

(If you don’t ask you don’t get basically.) 

Have a look at your social media content plan – are most of your posts sales based? If so, think about filtering in some humorous posts or ones that are a bit different and are more likely to catch a user's eye. Remember people don’t use social media to be sold to – they use it to engage with great content and to learn interesting pieces of information. 

Instead of focusing on what you would like a potential consumer to click on, consider the content that your consumers would most enjoy seeing and would provoke them to actively respond. 

If you have seen a decrease in reach of your Facebook posts don’t despair! Facebook claims that this new update will not only benefit its users, but also the marketers that use it, adding: “In a recent test with a small number of users, this change resulted in a 5% increase in the number of likes, comments and shares on the organic stories people saw from friends and an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on the organic stories they saw from Pages.

“Previously, people read 57% of the stories in their News Feeds, on average. They did not scroll far enough to see the other 43%. When the unread stories were resurfaced, the fraction of stories read increased to 70%.”

Have you seen a decrease in social reach or has the algorithm change boosted your online presence? Share your experience with us below.