How Social Media News Feed Algorithms Impact Brands & Marketers

With News Feed algorithms in three of the most popular social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) constantly evolving to improve user experience, it’s becoming more difficult for any post to earn exposure in the News Feed. As popular social media networks plan to update their algorithms, marketers, and brands tend to panic as they try to identify ways on how to continue marketing their products and services without being drastically impacted by the major changes. Let’s see the how the news feed algorithms work on these three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm

Based on statistics, Facebook has 1.23 billion daily active users and 1.15 billion mobile daily active users, on average, as of December 2016. With these numbers in mind, Mark Zuckerberg and his company are constantly looking for ways on how to please Facebook users. For instance, the Facebook “Like” button has gone through several evolutions since its activation in February 2009, from being just a feature where users can give their “thumbs up” to content such as status updates, photos, advertisements, and shared links, to being a button where users share their reactions to post in a more expressive manner (Like, Love, Wow, Haha, Sad and Angry).

The development involving the “Like” button not only brought pleasure to users, but also provides the Facebook founder and his team of engineers clues on which posts were pleasing users, appalling them, and making them feel bored.

As years went by, Facebook has started to show us more about how the News Feed algorithm works, what it prefers, and what it implies for business Pages. The increasing challenge now for social media marketers on this development in Facebook lies on how to improve organic reach.

Here’s what Facebook’s algorithm considers to be important that every Social media marketer should know.

Relevance Score

Relevance Score is measured based on the positive and negative interactions a Facebook ad is expected to receive. As viewers interact and give feedback on the ad, the relevance score is changed. There are several reasons why advertisers should familiarize themselves with relevance scores. First, a high relevance score can bring down the cost of reaching people because Facebook’s ad delivery system views it as a positive indicator. Second, relevance score can help advertisers examine ad creative choices prior to running a campaign. Third, it can help advertisers optimize ongoing campaigns.

There are a number of ways by which social media marketers can improve relevance score. These include choosing a specific target audience, posting ads with a high-value message, and experimenting with different ads to determine which one is creating the highest score. Posting high-quality content is a sure thing, one in which your readers will definitely be lured to spend time with. Make sure that your post is informative so that viewers will follow your future posts. Take note that Facebook created the News Feed Algorithm to determine the frequency of your interaction with friends, pages or public figures.

So what’s new in Facebook Ads Manager for 2017? News has it that reports in the Ads Manager will now be more easily understood and users, particularly marketers, will now have a better view of future campaign results.

News Feed Preferences

Since Facebook was built around the idea of connecting people with their friends and loved ones, Mark Zuckerberg and his team of engineers have updated the Facebook News Feed algorithm making posts by friends that are important to users appear higher on users’ feeds, causing content from Facebook Pages to be viewed further down. In keeping with its vision of connecting people and ideas, Facebook is giving users the power to “unfollow” friends or tag posts as “hide” or “see first”.

Time Spent on a Post

Facebook has again made a significant change in its News Feed algorithm, this time, taking into consideration the amount of time a user spent viewing a post after clicking on them. This is part of Facebook’s effort to better understand what content are most interesting to people. So if you are spending too much time on a certain post, expect that Facebook will possibly show that post on your friends’ News Feeds.

Video Engagement

A study published by analytics firm NewsWhip found a considerable decline in engagement with media content based on its monitoring of “likes” and “shares” of linked articles from 10 of the most popular publishers on Facebook in 2015. Specifically, the study revealed that “likes” fell by around 55% while “shares” dropped significantly by 57% from July 2015 to April 2016. NewsWhip attributed this declining trend to the changes made by Facebook to its News Feed algorithm, aside from its shift towards a focus on video. Facebook reiterated that it just wanted to favor original content over those that appeared a lot in users’ feeds already.

Twitter’s Algorithmic Timeline

With 319 million monthly active users, Twitter has played a tremendous role particularly on the day of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election by providing breaking news and with it’s up to 40 million election-related tweets sent by 10 pm. Let’s digest how Twitter has been adapting to social media competition and how its users responded to changes implemented by this platform.

In 2015, Twitter added the “While You Were Away” feature in a move to spare users from the “fear of missing out” feeling brought about by the chronological arrangement of the original timeline.

From being a social network that shows the latest updates when you open it, Twitter has made several drastic changes to its platform in an effort to provide a better user experience and to attract more users. As you open your Twitter account, what do you see? In the current set-up, it’s basically Tweets that you are likely to care about, still recent and in reverse chronological order. Twitter basically gathers and evaluates every recent Tweet from every user you follow and deliberately assigns a relevance score to each Tweet. This relevance score is usually based on a number of variables including the number of favorites and retweets it garnered, how long the user has been away from the site, and the number of people you follow. Also on your timeline, you will see a tally of the most interesting Tweets you probably have missed and content such as promoted Tweets or retweets. Twitter’s timeline settings can be adjusted to suit your preferences with its “Show me the best Tweets first” feature.

Now, how do these recent changes on Twitter’s timeline affect brands and digital marketers? The platform’s “First View” feature gives brands a chance to share videos, creating brand awareness across a vast audience. Like Facebook, this Twitter feature enables social media marketers to gain audience share with the top ad slot, which will be a promoted video from that brand. The most important thing that marketers should bear in mind when promoting their brands in Twitter is the quality of their Tweets. High-quality tweets have a greater probability of owning a place on top of a user’s timeline. For advertisers, you can take advantage of the “Show me the best Tweets first” section, which could certainly make you gain more attention from Twitter users.

Instagram Algorithm: How to Boost Organic Reach

Instagram implemented the algorithm-based approach to ensure that people won’t miss contents that are shared on the platform.  An estimated 70 percent of feeds are missed by people every single day. Also, the platform only displays post based on the users’ interests, close relationship with the owner of the post, and the post’s timeliness. It identifies factors that influence its algorithm and keeps quite when it comes to the inner workings of its formula.

First, timing. The platform does not show the 2 weeks old photo or video that your friend shared. The algorithm displays the most recent video or photos shared. It does not run the feeds in chronological order anymore like what it did in the past.

Second, engagement. Comments and likes are both important in the algorithm. Users take more effort when writing and leaving comments on posts. Its engagement is higher than just liking posts. Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, announces that users and most especially to digital marketers that the platform now allows liking comments thus leading them to a higher level of engagement. If users like the comment, they can just tap the heart button to like it.

Third, previous interaction. The algorithm records the level of interaction your posts’ get. It records the number of times of how often a user interacts with your videos or photos.

How to Boost Organic Reach on Instagram

Boosting organic reach on social media platforms plays an important role to businesses’ relying on social media for promotion. Social media marketers can do something about the declining organic reach of their Instagram account.

  • Compelling captions. The caption of your videos and photos helps improve the engagement level of your posts. Captions can be in the form of storytelling, question, or something that includes your CTA (call to action).
  • Posted videos offer better engagement compared to pictures. In the first 6 months of 2016, videos improved the engagement about 60 percent.

Using the right hashtags, posting high-quality content, and cross promoting also help boost the organic reach. Using them the right way will make your content discoverable and improve your level of engagement. Instagram contest and investing in social are good ways to connect to users and to your business’ target audience.

     If you would like a free consultation Contact us. These algorithms change all the time so do your best to keep up.

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