Facebook Announces More Links In The News Feed

Facebook has announced another significant tweak to the news feed algorithm (often called EdgeRank). You can read their blog article in full or check out our summary of the changes here.

What Did Facebook Announce?

  • More Links will be displayed within the news feed.
  • Links that are commented on by friends will receive a bump in the news feed.
  • Memes will receive a decrease in the news feed.

More Links In The News Feed

Facebook has noticed a trend of people consuming more Links. Facebook is now placing a heavier importance on Links and how Links are consumed on mobile devices. Facebook emphasizes the importance of mobile and how these browsing behaviors may be different than desktop consumption.

Facebook Links

Comment Stories

Story Bumping (unveiled this summer) takes old posts and reintroduces them into the news feed at a later time. With Comment Stories (when a friend comments on a Link) their friends will now be more likely to see the old post. This creates more engagement for the users and the Page with the post.

This places a new emphasis on acquiring fans that are friends. If your audience has Affinity with each other, this will increase the likelihood of your objects being exposed in the news feed more often with Story Bumping.

Memes Penalty

Facebook used their announcement to once again bash memes. We recently discussed how Facebook may identify memes, but Facebook got more specific. Facebook mentions “a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook.” This seems to imply that memes via Facebook Photos are penalized less than memes on Imgur, livememe, and makeameme.

Regardless of where a meme is hosted, it’s quite clear that Facebook wants less of them on their platform, especially if they’re not a Facebook Photo. As always, we recommend avoiding memes in general.

What Can You Do To Take Advantage Of These Changes?

If you’re a publisher, the good news is that you don’t have to change much. If you’re a photographer or heavy photo publisher, you may see a decrease in exposure. The news feed has finite space. If Links have a heavier weight—Photos have less.

  • Don’t be afraid of posting Links
  • Consider decreasing Photo posts in lieu of posting more Links
  • Build fans that are friends with each other to benefit from Comment Stories
  • Avoid using memes, especially those not hosted on Facebook

Ultimately this announcement is great for Pages that rely more frequently on Links than Photos. If you’re not a publisher-type, don’t worry, Facebook still wants “to show the right content to the right people at the right time.” If your Photos are engaging, your audience wants Photos, and you should be fine.

How Facebook Handles Memes

A few months ago, Facebook announced they would be punishing “meme content.” There was a lot of concern on how Facebook would actually enforce this. Facebook hinted at using machine learning to identify meme content, while others suggested that it’s too hard to differentiate. But it appears that we may have an understanding of how they categorize meme content. Facebook has recently started to ask for more direct user input into how they display objects in the news feed:

News Feed Survey

This survey is appended to certain objects in the news feed to provide a sort of check-and-balance system. Facebook also implemented a more robust dialogue when hiding an object in your news feed:

Facebook - What's wrong with this post?

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Recommendations Now Tell You What To Do In Plain-English

Facebook marketing has evolved. Long gone are the days of posting something at a particular time of day and repeating as often as possible. Social media marketing is about identifying the essence of engagement. Why do people take time out of their day to Like, Comment, or even Share your commercial message? An overcrowded news feed with millions of brands vying for exposure to users has lead to an emphasis on quality.

We feel it’s our job to identify what is quality content, and using our findings to help you distribute it optimally.

Facebook Recommendations To Improve Page Continue reading

Average Facebook Page Reaches 12.6%

Facebook doesn’t often reveal baseline statistics for their platform. The typical number floating around regarding Reach is about 16%. Last Fall, there was some disagreement on this number as Facebook had made significant changes to the news feed algorithm.

Interestingly enough, when Facebook had studied Reach, they had examined Reach of Fans (which is included in Insights). This number was higher than some 3rd Party Analytical providers (including us) were seeing. Ironically, Facebook shows Organic Reach (including non-fans) in Insights, as the default view. In order to find this subtle difference, you must navigate to the Posts tabs, drill down Reach from Organic/Paid to Fans/Non-Fans. Facebook likes to show the user the higher number of the two in Insights, but tends to use a different number in their studies. To clarify, we’re using Organic Reach / Number of Fans on Day of Post.

Most Page Admins focus on Organic Reach as it relates to the size of their fan base to keep things relative. From time to time, we examine these impacts to see any changes across the board. We found that the average Facebook page reaches 12.6% of their audience.

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How Does Posting Via Instagram Impact Engagement on Facebook?

Since Facebook acquired Instagram, we’ve been getting questions on how the news feed is being impacted. We’ve heard reports ranging from incredible success with Instagram, to it not having much of an impact, so we decided to take a look.

Posting Via Instagram Has No Impact on Facebook Page

Our initial hypothesis was that using Instagram would cause a small bump in engagement and exposure. The logic was two-fold: Facebook may have increased the weight of the objects, and posts from Instagram are always photos or videos—with visual filters—that are potentially more eye-catching.

However, our data shows that metrics such as Engagement, Organic Reach, and Viral Reach all remain fairly consistent while not using Instagram.

Median Engagement per Fan was fairly close, 2.39% for Facebook vs 2.15% on Instagram. This difference is within normal expectations.

Engagement-Rate-Instagram-vs-Facebook Continue reading

Hashtags on Facebook Do Nothing To Help Additional Exposure

Significant time has passed since Facebook fully rolled out their hashtag implementation. We decided to dig into the data to see the impact of hashtags on the news feed. To our surprise, the answer was…nothing. Wow, we didn’t expect to find that!

The assumption is that if people see an object in the news feed with a hashtag they’re interested in, they will click the hashtag to discover more interesting content related to the particular hashtag. Brands that talk about trending hashtags may receive additional exposure due to other Pages using hashtags because their Page may show up unexpectedly. Continue reading

Facebook Kills Viral Reach When Sharing Other Page’s Post

When a Page Manager sees awesome content, should they use the Share functionality or repurpose it? We decided to dive into the data to find out.

Photos-Median-Viral-Reach-Shared-vs-Created

Viral Reach is essentially non-existent for photo posts that are Shared. Why is this? It’s most likely due to how Facebook is treating the object in the news feed. Facebook must balance between rewarding the original creator the post, while also giving some organic reach to the sharer. Continue reading

Heat Map: Facebook Fans Online – Exclusive Study

When are your fans online? We decided to take a look with a heat map style graphic:

When Facebook Fans Are Online

This is a heat map of Facebook fans seeing posts in the news feed. If the graph is Red, the more likely the time overlaps with all of the Pages we studied. As the color progresses towards blue (red → yellow → green → blue), the more likely this time period was unique to fewer Pages.

A majority of brands experienced had fans online between 9am to 9pm CT. As expected, this is when Americans are awake and active (the brands we studied had a general American focus). There was not much variance, which means that most brands have a similar looking graph.

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