In 2022, let’s hack the Facebook algorithm together!
It’s not a secret that the Facebook algorithm can sound like a mystery, an enigma that many brands prefer to stay away from.
We often hear from our clients, “Why is my organic reach so bad?”, “Why my Ads campaigns don’t perform?”, “Is it because of the Facebook algorithm?”, and “How can I make it work?”
The truth is that it’s not that complicated. Making the Facebook algorithm work depends on your ability to understand what it is, its history and what the best practices are.
So, keep reading and we’ll explain it carefully.
What is the Facebook Algorithm?
In a common definition, an algorithm is a set of instructions or rules designed to resolve a problem or accomplish an end goal. For example, a video game consists of specific instructions and rules to win the game.
With Facebook, their end goal is to keep people on the platform for longer, so that they can become more valuable for advertisers. In this case, the purpose of the algorithm is to establish a set of rules and processes based on user behaviour and content consumption.
The Facebook algorithm is an artificial intelligence software— a machine with multiple learning models and rankings layers. As a result, it can learn and discover different things over time.
In other words, the algorithm decides which posts the user sees every time they check their Facebook feed and the order for those posts to show up.
You may have experienced that Facebook doesn’t show the content in chronological order, and it’s because the algorithm evaluates every post based on a set of rules and then scores it to arrange the order of interest for each individual user.
But what does it mean for your business?
In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg said, “One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” This means that brands need to be more careful with what they post. Facebook is all about connecting with people and bringing a sense of community.
The challenge for brands will reside in creating relevant content that encourages more meaningful interactions.
A Brief History of the Facebook Algorithm
In the beginning, the Facebook algorithm was elementary. It wasn’t run by artificial intelligence like it is these days. Instead, it was all user-based. Pushing itself into other people who match with people that you have requested before. With time, the algorithm has evolved and developed depending on what the algorithm thinks users want to see and what developers want to achieve.
We all know Facebook was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that the Facebook algorithm started.
Let’s look at how it all started and how it has changed with time.
2006 – 2008 – News Feed, Status Update and Like Button Introduction
News feed – Back in the days, you had to search for people to see their updates and other stuff manually, but the addition of the news feed made it more accessible.
Then progressively, Facebook launched a mobile version back in 2007 and implemented the “Like” button. That blue button made interaction simple and easy, the reason why it still remains with us.
2009 – 2012 – The beginning of a new era!
The Facebook algorithm starts working, implementing new changes and features such as News Feed filters. This meant prioritising content based on the amount of time a user spends looking at it. Only the posts with the highest engagement (likes & comments) would show at the top of the news feed.
Additionally, the users could update their status, attach multimedia content to their posts and even set a specific list of friends who could see their posts and status updates.
In 2011, Facebook then added the News Ticker. A significant change that combined the news feed with a Ticker. This indicates that instead of showing only those posts with the higher engagement, Facebook will show the most relevant content from your family and friends at any time.
Do you remember when Facebook started showing your friends’ activities such as liking, commenting, adding, etc.? That was the Facebook News Ticker.
Furthermore, in 2012 Facebook was listed on the stock exchange, making it the largest tech IPO in history. This opened doors to paid ads and more new changes.
With that, Facebook started developing better ways for brands to get in front of the untapped markets, while simultaneously promoting and recognising businesses that kept people on the platform longer.
2013 – 2017 – Meaningful changes in the algorithm and Instagram’s first algorithm introduction
In 2013, Facebook prioritised showing quality content only and redesigning the news feed for a better visual appearance and increased engagement levels.
Then, from 2014, Facebook became more customer experience focused. The Facebook algorithm started paying more attention to all those posts/features that people weren’t using or becoming potentially annoyed with.
The algorithm started monitoring metrics like the bounce rate on posts, how much time users would spend on a post after clicking on it, or watching a video.
It also introduced video updates, video view count, and included an option to let the user see the next recommended video once they have finished their current video.
Another significant transformation was the launch of Instagram and its first algorithm.
The algorithm developed new parameters, i.e., if a post receives lots of likes during the first fifteen minutes of being posted, that post has more chances to go viral. For example, let’s say you posted a photo. If that post immediately gets a bunch of likes from followers who have more followers it will increase the chance that your post goes beyond the followers of that first follower. It means that your post is likely to go viral.
From 2015 to 2017, Facebook innovated with GIFs, the “Buy” button, and they introduced one of the most significant sources of interaction— Facebook Reactions. Who doesn’t love or haven’t used them?
And finally, Instagram Stories— a notable feature that has continued to gain a lot of power in the past years.
2018 and beyond –
So far, we have experienced the Facebook algorithm promoting viral reach, posts with a lot of interactions, i.e., likes, comments, shares, and followers. However, people then started making “artificial” interactions, i.e., fake likes, fakes comments, and even fake followers.
On top of that, Facebook went through many problems with its news feed. People started turning away from the platform because there was so much fake news, controversial and political posts, and ‘cat videos’.
On January 12, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg made the decision to visit fifteen countries, to ask people about Facebook— what they thought about the Facebook and Instagram news feeds, and what they would like the platform to be.
From there, Mark and the current head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, decided to change everything with the news feed, updating the algorithm again and focusing on *covert engagement metrics like video views, impressions, reach, check-ins and tagging and eventually coming up with a page and ads ranking system.
That was the first time that Facebook gave an insight into the algorithm and how it works.
Since then, brands and social media experts have understood a little bit better how the algorithm works and what to do to make it work.
If your content turns people away from the platform, or if people don’t stop to view your post on their news feed, Facebook will demote you because they see your brand doesn’t engage with the user.
How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2022
Basically, in 2022, it goes around the new feeds ranking system.
A personalised ranking system for more than 2 billion people (all with different interests) and a plethora of content to select from presents significant, complex challenges… Keep reading the technical analysis here.
In simple words, this ranking system, or learning machine, will score a page based on signals, like the type of post, frequency, format, etc.
Facebook has been working on how to improve its algorithm the entire time so it can identify which content is best for the users and how to avoid people leaving the platform. Also, note that the algorithm has been learning from itself based on each user’s past behaviour, identifying the type of content and the format that the user doesn’t like anymore.
The Facebook algorithm will reward those who genuinely engage with their audience, create a community, post frequently, and implement ads campaigns.
Facebook Algorithm’s Four Ranking Factors
The Facebook algorithm controls the ordering and presentation of posts, so users see what is most relevant to them. This means that posts and ads are presented based on what Facebook sees as relevant to you rather than publishing content chronologically.
Facebook’s algorithms for ranking content on your News Feed follow four factors:
1- The Inventory of all posts available to display.
It represents the stock of all content displayed to a user on Facebook’s News Feed.
2- Signals that tell Facebook what each post is.
They represent the information that Facebook can gather about a piece of content. Therefore, they are the single factor that you have control over.
3- Predictions on how you will react to each post.
They represent a user’s behaviour and how likely they are to interact positively with a content piece.
4- A final Score is assigned to the content based on all factors.
It is the final number assigned to a piece of content found on the likelihood the user will respond positively to it. *Note – The only part of the process an advertiser has control over are the signals of your content.
Facebook Algorithm Ranking Signals in 2022
Facebook wants to ensure that people get the most relevant content, news, updates and authentic information, and they will achieve this by following some ranking signals. So, what are those ranking signals you should watch in your next social media campaign?
Facebook looks at whether the post comes from a personal profile, a business page, an influencer or a news source and how much other users often engage with them.
How are other users engaging with that post? Are they reacting or completely ignoring it?
Which type of content do users interact with most? Type of content here includes time spent on the post, the intention and the format; video, link, image, carousel, and story.
When it was posted and at what time.
6 Tips to Get Around the Facebook Algorithm
1- Post frequently and at the right time
Aim to post at least five posts a week on each platform. Attention Experts highly recommends creating a content calendar as a guide and picking one day every fortnight to create ten posts and schedule for the next two weeks. Following this tactic, you will have time to plan, schedule and get your content done in advance.
In addition, make sure you post at the right time. It’s not enough just posting content; doing it at the right time is critical. For example, imagine posting at 10 am just because it’s the right time for you, but in reality, at this time, your audience isn’t online.
2- Give value to your audience
Be specific and conscious about who you are marketing to and your audience. Post quality content, create relevant stories that resolve a problem, and help people understand what you do and your purpose.
Empathise with your audience, improve the customer experience, make it easier to connect and buy from you. Don’t only talk about yourself or your brand, the hero on social media is the user, not the brand.
With the pandemic, social media has changed the way people consume content. People want stories containing the information they want, and they wish to consume in style.
That led to a particular increase in video content and live audio consumption. Check out the New Trends in Social Media to Watch in 2022.
3- Explore different formats
Don’t stick just with single images. Keep in mind the ranking signals of the Facebook algorithm and try new formats, like short, engaging videos, stories, reels, long videos, live videos, etc. Get inspired with our top three social media trends for 2022.
4- Use a two-factor authentication
Protect your Business Manager account and follow Facebook’s best practices. We highly recommend enabling it whenever possible, so it’s harder for the bad guys to get into your accounts.
5- Engage with your audience
Prioritise building connections with each person in your audience.
If someone left a comment in your post, don’t ignore it. Reply as soon as you can. Social media is about building community, entertaining, connecting with people and interacting. Your goal as a marketer or as a brand is to inspire people, make them smile, make them feel heard, and keep the conversation going.
The algorithm prioritises posts from pages that a user has interacted with in the past.
6- Create multiple ads campaigns with different objectives.
With this, you will help the algorithm understand what you are trying to achieve. For example, are you trying to build a community around your brand? Engage with them? or are you trying to sell a product only?
The Facebook algorithm has been evolving. As we said before, it’s constantly learning from itself, so when you create different campaigns with various formats, the algorithm changes depending on the campaign’s stage.
For example, you can create a conversion campaign for a custom audience. From here, the algorithm will know you are trying to reach people who know about your brand already, so the probability that they engage with a single image is higher. By knowing this, the algorithm will push a single image more than video and try to connect with that particular audience.
How We Can Help You Be Seen on the Feed
If you’ve read to this point, you’re likely very interested in growing your business through Social Media Marketing. If so you should join our next FREE webinar to learn more about How to Analyse Data to Improve Social Media ROI.
On Wednesday, April 27, George Hawwa, Growth Director at Attention Experts, will present a FREE short 30-minute WEBINAR that covers this topic specifically.
George is in charge of Attention Experts’ overall growth and best practices. George shares some accolades: being named in the ‘Top 30 leaders under 30’ in 2007 by Entrepreneur Australia Magazine and having won ‘Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ for 2018 at the NSW Business Chamber Regional awards.
He also currently lectures at Sydney University on social media strategy to Postgraduate students at the Centre for Continual Education. In addition, George is a sought after speaker and educator on social media strategy and business.
Make sure to REGISTER by clicking here.
And if you need help with your social media strategy. You can also give us a call for a FREE Strategy Session. Our number is (02) 8069 9796 (02) 8069 9796 if outside Australia), or message us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/attentionexperts. You can also book a meeting with us via our website.