Monday, December 16, 2019

Explaining the Facebook Algorithm in Plain English

Facebook is constantly updating its algorithm. So the information provided here may not be 100% accurate one year from now, six months from now or even tomorrow! It may not be 100% accurate TODAY! But the general principles I will be explaining should still be valid if you follow the "best use policies' of Facebook and how they would like to see you interact on their platform.
First, Facebook does not stick to a "chronological feed" for your posts appearing in other peoples feeds. You may have noticed that sometimes you will see posts from last week appear ahead of posts from yesterday or even today. There is a reason for that. I will be explaining how all of this works (as near as I have been able to figure out) a little later.
Because of all the "fake news" issues related to Facebook in the 2016 election cycle, Facebook has completely overhauled its algorithm from "what it was" to what they are doing today. This has many people claiming they lost a lot of their "traffic" to websites, lower responses to ads, etc.
Be that as it may, Facebook constantly strives to get as many eyes on relevant posts as possible. So if you will "play by the rules" and use their algorithm the way they have designed it, you should see more positives than negatives.
The way Facebook puts posts into your news feed and that of others is by using four different areas to get a "ranking score" for a post.
Those areas are: Inventory (how much available content is on the Facebook platform itself); Signals (helps Facebook determine what will generate the most interest); Predictions (how Facebook uses your profile and that of others to determine possible interest in a post); Score (the value Facebook assigns to a piece of content determining the "relevancy" to each user).
Let me go over a bit more detail on those four factors as that will make things a bit clearer before I continue:
INVENTORY: Facebook looks at all the available content on their platform. They look at what you are posting. They look at what your friends are posting. Your family, the groups you are part of and the pages you have liked. Facebook takes that as a whole (let's say 100% for simplicity reasons).
SIGNALS: This is "weighted content" that helps Facebook determine which content should be shared with others. Here is the a short list of the weighted areas Facebook will look at. Remember, their algorithm does this in an instant of time and is updated constantly. So the weighted scores can change in a matter of minutes.
1. Comments and likes on person's status or photo or video
2. Your engagements on content published by your friends.
3. Shares you conduct or receive through Messenger.
4. Replies to any comments on a video.
5. Who it was that posted the content.
6. How long ago was the content posted.
7. What time it is now (elapsed time since posting and/or commenting).
8. Technology used (was it a post from a desktop computer or smart phone device).
9. Content type (was it a text post; a post with an image; a video; were their links to other Facebook profiles or links to external websites).
10. Average time people are spending on the post.
11. How informative the post is (providing information or just pictures of your cat).
12. The completeness of your profile.
13. The completeness of other peoples profiles.
PREDICTIONS: This is where Facebook looks at your past behaviors and interests and compares that to your profile and other people's profiles. They attempt to "predict" which posts will generate the most interaction.
SCORE: This the value Facebook assigns to a post or piece of content (including ads) and is assigned to a user. This user score is unique to each person on Facebook. This score will also change over time as people interact through the post with each other.
Next time, I will share with you how these four areas work together and how Facebook's algorithm will use them. This will result in either your posts getting more visibility, or being hidden in Facebook "never-never land."
Robert Thibodeau has been in online media since 2010. Between his online radio programs and his podcasts, he has accumulated more than 3,000 episodes in that time. He has conducted almost 500 interviews in that time as well. He has helped many podcasters with launching their own podcasts (many of which have earned numerous podcasting awards). He has a complete podcast training program, taking you from "Concept to Launch and Into Monetization." You can read more information on his training program at You can also download his "Podcast Creation Checklist" for FREE under the "Services" tab on his website.

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