What Did Facebook Announce, and How Does It Impact My Strategy?

Facebook announced a few specifics regarding changes coming to the news feed algorithm (EdgeRank). Overall the algorithm still works mostly the same, with the exception of a few new improvements. We’ll explain each change, and what you can do about it to stay on top of your strategy.

What Happened?

Facebook held a small gathering to explain their latest changes to the news feed.  A few key take aways:

  • There is still an algorithm determining the news feed
  • New Story Bumping Signal
  • New Last Actor Signal
  • Future New Chronological by Actor Signal
  • There will not be a purely chronological change

Story Bumping Signal

Story Bumping is a new Organic Ranking factor. Each visit, Facebook looks at all of the new content and creates corresponding scores. A Post decays on average after about 3 hours because of Time Decay. Therefore most people’s news feeds lack old content. With Story Bumping, objects with high EdgeRank (and assumably now very low values of Time Decay) can be bumped into your feed if you “missed the update”. This update to the EdgeRank algorithm ultimately decreases the effect of Time Decay.

Facebook explained Story Bumping as:

“When users load up Facebook in the morning, a finite number of stories are shown on screen. They can scroll to view additional stories, but inevitably users leave some unread before clicking elsewhere. Story bumping ensures that when the user logs-in to Facebook later in the day, some of these unread stories are brought to the top of their News Feed alongside whatever has been posted since they last accessed the social network.”

To accomplish this, Facebook is recording which posts are being seen by which users. This recorded history helps aide which stories to bump.

Story Bumping

Facebook has A/B tested this and found an increase in engagement. Stories read also increased significantly from 57% to 70%. Story Bumping has been rolled out to all users on the web, but has not rolled out to mobile.

How To Take Advantage of Story Bumping

We believe that Post Lifetimes will now have a larger variance. Posts that are inherently good will most likely be able to pick up engagement well past the typical 3 hour average we’ve seen in the past. However, posts that are inherently bad will most likely die a quicker news feed death.

It will now be more important to know how quickly a post is likely to die. If the post seems destined for a quick death, the next window of opportunity is much sooner than you may typically expect. We’ll be studying this in the future.

Last Actor Signal

Facebook keeps track of who a user has made the last 50 interactions with. People & Pages that have been interacted with these last 50 interactions, will receive a small bump in value (Affinity). Ultimately, these interactions are now having a stronger influence into the Affinity component.

How To Take Advantage of Last Actor?

For Pages, it is ideal to be one of those last 50 interactions to receive that bump. For some brands, this will simply mean delivering excellent content at the right intervals (optimal post frequencies). Some brands will be able to significantly increase their post frequencies, and this may aide the likelihood of being included as one of the Last Actor’s actions.

Chronological by Actor Signal

Facebook has not rolled this out. Facebook is considering rolling it out in the near future, once they’ve optimized a few things. Initial results have not been as successful as they would have liked.

Facebook attempted to make a Chronological By Actor tweak to the feed. This will help with understanding real time content. This change essentially removes Time Decay from the algorithm, while increasing the value of the Last Actor signal, therefore giving the user the ability to view interesting content in a chronological listing.

How To Take Advantage of Chronological by Actor

There is nothing to do but to wait until this is rolled out. This may or may not affect Pages.

Is EdgeRank Dead?

Facebook does not have an official name for the algorithm. Facebook no longer uses the word internally, however they apparently refer to it as the “algorithm for the news feed”. Not quite as catchy or easy off the tongue, as EdgeRank. EdgeRank still seems to be the most popular unofficial term around, and we’ll be the first to let you know if that changes.

Lars Backstrom, the engineering manager of News Feed rankings at Facebook, said that “the three primary EdgeRank factors — Affinity, Weight and Time Decay — are still important pieces of what is today a much more complicated News Feed ranking algorithm.”

 

 

Additional links & resources:
What Is Story Bumping?
Facebook’s Official Release

3 Comments on “What Did Facebook Announce, and How Does It Impact My Strategy?

  1. Martin

    EdgeRank or “Facebooks newsfeed algorithm” only effects your newsfeed when you use facebook with its default setting “Top Stories” – right?
    This means, there is no algorithm effect to what I see when I switch to “Most recent” setting.
    Are there any figures known what percent of facebook users change their setting to “Most recent”? I never use the default “Top Story” setting and was wondering about the actual “reach” of the new algorithm effect.

      • Vaughan

        Firstly, facebook is not a public service, it is a choice and a product. Yes facebook has huge responsibility in terms of data security and privacy but we must remain thankfull they provide this service. As facebook has grown and changed so has their need for dealing with mass data and the user interface.

        Here is my suggestion if any admin reads these: I want my digital personality to be accessible but I don’t want it to be live. So If I set default privacy settings to “me only”, Post it, then in retrospective change it to public…Will everyone suddenly be notified the moment I decrease the privacy settings on individual posts or comments?

        How can I post discretely to public?

        If we could do this and retrospectively notify or have “Publish or notification Pending” Then we could choose what groups to notify and would put the control back in to the hands of the owner so those who don’t want all their friends to know everything but want to be able to refer people to my “public site” like a webpage.. Then I have the power to decide who its relevant to.

        It would not apply to subscriptions or liked Pages groups etc only people pages.

        It might sound like a fundamental difference to the way FB operates but might be a simple change.
        I’m not an expert on the programming, but it would go something like this: NO notifications are sent out from personal accounts and If I like something It goes on my wall. Content wise : The Ticker content could become the news feed and the news feed content would be more like specific notifications. The wall would become more like “my activity” where I exercise the individual post settings and only accessible to people who are friends.
        It would make it more of a personal experience.A Blog-spot with feeds.
        It might be a matter of changing the setting – “who can see this” to who will be notified about this… thoughts?

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