Your crazy uncle’s political rants. Your local greasy spoon’s deep-fried lunch specials. Your neighbor’s endless stream of grumpy cat memes. You don’t want to see them. (Or, you really, really do.) And that’s the conundrum Facebook’s Story Bumping and Last Actor updates attempts to solve—how to show you more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
And it’s quite a challenge.
Enter math & Facebook’s News Feed algorithm
On average, a Facebook user could be inundated by 1,500 posts each and every day. And, so, before August 5th, the News Feed algorithm would tailor a select stream of approximately 300 stories every day.
According to Facebook, the factors that determined which posts you’d see included:
- How often you engaged with a friend, page or public figure who posted
- The number of likes, shares and comments a post received from the world at large, and from your friends in particular
- How much you interacted with that type of post in the past
- Whether or not you and other people across Facebook were hiding or reporting a given post
So, to be clear, before the algorithm updates announced last week, Facebook would prioritize new posts and display them on your News Feed. But if you missed any one of them? They’d be lost.
Now, updates to the Facebook News Feed algorithm, announced on Tuesday, will attempt to deliver more of those fabulous stories you really enjoy, yet may have missed in your News Feed.
I mean, can you imagine not seeing your pal’s StePhest Colbechella 2013 post, just because you had to dart off to a kickball game or dinner with pops?
So, what’s new?
Story bumping now means great content will be given more opportunities to catch your eyeballs.
If your last Facebook visit was a quickie, you might have missed something really important. Like, when your bff’s puppy got his head stuck in an empty ice cream container.
Now, the News Feed algorithm will push stories to your News Feed that were there before, but you didn’t get to see—provided social cues (likes, comments, shares) demonstrate that the content is relevant and popular.
And from a business perspective, that’s a great thing.
Even if your most popular posts are a few hours old, they now stand a greater chance of catching your audience’s eye. In fact, Facebook’s testing demonstrated that interaction with Pages content rose 8%, thanks to the Story Bumping update.
Important note: Story bumping doesn’t impact paid content—it only offers an opportunity to drive additional engagement from organic content.
And, for the time being, story bumping is only available on the web, though it will be rolled out to mobile soon.
Facebook’s second News Feed algorithm update—Last Actor—also tries to hone in on the content you’re uniquely seeking out. So, it tracks your last 50 interactions on a rolling basis.
The more you engage with particular friends or pages, the more often you’ll see their content. (So, always like, comment and share your neighbor’s crazy cat posts. Or, never do.)
Now, this update didn’t result in large increases in user engagement, according to Facebook’s own testing, but it was apparently enough to release the update into the wild.
And it’s out there—on the web and mobile.
What’s the take away?
These recent Facebook News Feed algorithm updates are just one more in a long string of reminders, complete with waving flags and flashing lights, that timely, relevant, engaging content matters.
If your intent is to build your company or business brand and you’re slapping articles up without much consideration for your copy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. That’s not “doing” social.
So, give your social content the development time it really deserves. Be personable. Ask questions—questions you genuinely want to know the answers to. Engage with the fans who interact with your posts.
Facebook will reward you for it.