Facebook’s latest update to the News Feed ranking looks at two new factors to determine if a story is more relevant in the moment than other updates.
The company has heard feedback from users saying that there are some instances when a post from a friend or page is only interesting at a specific moment, like when you’re watching the same sports game, or talking about the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show. There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore.
Factoring in trending topics
One way the social network shows timely content higher-up in News Feed is to show people stories about things that are trending as soon as they occur, so you can immediately know what your friends or favorite pages are saying about the stories of the day. This means that when a friend of page you are connected to posts about sometime that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner. Early testing of a small percentage of posts has shown that this update on average leads to an over six percent increase in people engaging with these stories (more shares, comments, likes or clicks).
Looking at when people like or comment
The second update takes into account the rate at which people are liking or commenting on a post. Currently one of the signals the company looks at is the total number of likes that a post has receiving when determining how high up to show it in News Feed. With this update, Facebook is going to begin looking at when people are choosing to like, comment and share.
If people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests that the post was most interesting at a later date. Based on this signal it is more likely to appear higher in News Feed earlier on and lower at a later date.
The social network is also going to start taking this signal into account when stories are resurfaced when people don’t scroll down far enough to see it but it’s still getting lots of engagement. This is one more way that Facebook’s working to identify “timely posts so we can show them nearer the top of your News Feed sooner.”
Will this affect my Page?
These changes will be rolled out gradually and posts shouldn’t see significant changes in distribution because of the update. If a page posts about a trending topic or if a post sees a high velocity of engagement early on that then drops off, that post may begin to see increased distribution early on that fades over time.