The Facebook Algorithm
Jonathan Rodriguez
July 1, 2021

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With each new year comes new changes to many parts of our lives. Businesses are making changes to their office. People are making changes in the way they spend their free time. Just like all of those other factors, the Facebook algorithm is always experiencing changes, and every so often, it introduces new changes that impact how posts are ranked. 

Understanding what the Facebook algorithm is and how it works is important for businesses to successfully use it in their marketing strategies. Trying to create posts that have an organic reach is an important part of any successful Facebook marketing strategy. Facebook posts with an organic reach are more likely to drive more conversions to a business than one that aims to  cast a wider net just for the sake of getting views. This is where the Facebook algorithm comes into play. Let’s dive a bit deeper into it to get a better understanding of what it is and how it works.  

What Is The Facebook Algorithm?

The Facebook algorithm, to put it plainly, decides which posts people see in their feed and their rankings which affects the order in which they are displayed. Chances are, many of the posts you see are posts that Facebook thinks are relevant to you and that you may find value in. The reason for this is because the Facebook algorithm is doing what it is supposed to do in the background.

Facebook says that their algorithm isn’t just one system, rather a more multi-layered combination of systems to help predict which posts are more relevant and valuable to each user in the long term. The algorithm always takes into effect whenever the user logs into their account and begins browsing through their feed. That is a lot of work for the algorithm since Facebook has 2.7 billion users worldwide on it, so it has to make sure that the posts that are displayed in the users’ feeds are relevant to them. 

How Does It Work? 

The Facebook algorithm doesn’t just rank posts and push them to the user. It takes the necessary steps to ensure the content is appropriate and relevant to the user. The Facebook algorithm works in the following steps: 

  1. The first thing the Facebook algorithm does is rank the posts that it can rank for the user. It ranks them using predetermined ranking signals. 
  2. After that, the algorithm will push aside any posts that it thinks the user will least likely engage with or not find relevant or valuable. This leaves it with posts that it deems relevant to the user and that they have shown interest in. 
  3. Once the most desirable posts are left, the algorithm will rank the posts based on the value it will give to the user. During this, it will consider engagements and reactions more valuable than a view. 
  4. Finally, with all of these posts put together, the algorithm will then sort the posts in an appealing manner to the user, while also ranking them in which ones the user views first. 

The algorithm uses the aforementioned steps on all users to rank the posts on their account. As a business, your goal should be to tailor your posts to these steps, which involve the usage of ranking signals. What are these ranking signals exactly? 

Facebook Algorithm Ranking Signals

Facebook likes to say they utilize many different rankings signals when they talk about how they rank posts. In reality, though, they seem to constantly refer to 4 ranking signals. These 4 ranking signals are as follows: 

Relationship 

The relationship is defined by how frequently the user engages with specific posts of accounts they follow on Facebook. For example, if a user frequently likes and reacts to posts that display a new dog from an account they follow, then Facebook may push those posts towards the user as well as similar posts from other accounts that they have not followed.  

Recency

Recency refers to how recent a post was published. Of course, more recent posts are ranked higher than older posts due to, you guessed it, recency bias! These posts are deemed “fresher” and thus more relevant to the user. This is why many of the posts you see toward the bottom of your feed are more dated since the algorithm doesn’t rank them favorably as more recent ones. 

Content-Type 

Content-type is another factor that influences the Instagram algorithm. Content does affect the algorithm in the sense that it will rank certain posts with certain content higher than other posts that don’t have algorithmic content. For example, video content tends to be favored over more static content. The reason that the Facebook algorithm ranks video content higher than static content is because of the engagement rates video content tends to receive, which makes those video posts more valuable.

Popularity 

One of the more simple reasons that a post gets ranked higher than others is its popularity. This refers to the number of reactions and shares a post gotten. The more it gets, the more likely it will be pushed towards users due to the sheer volume of reactions and shares it has gotten. This gives the algorithm more reason to place it on your feed. Think about the many times you’ve seen a popular or viral post on your feed. It likely is related to topics that pertain to you and what you like, and because of the number of shares and likes it’s gotten, the algorithm just places it on your feed so you don’t miss out. 

These four ranking signals are the most important, it seems, in terms of helping the Facebook algorithm rank posts. They work by tracking user behavior to see what they do frequently like and react to, and what they don’t. This ensures that everyone’s feed is catered to stuff they will likely engage with. 

Utilize The Facebook Algorithm

The Facebook algorithm has been in the public eye for what seems to be many years now. It is likely the most widely known algorithm, along with the Instagram algorithm. When utilized correctly, you can get your posts to the right people in an organic fashion, which is what most businesses should aim for. Driving more organic traffic brings a higher chance of conversions for your business. Eventually, this can lead to the growth you have likely been looking to gain. Adjust your Facebook marketing strategy around the algorithm, and see how your analytics trend upward. 


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