Moving into 2020, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are looking to make their presence felt with updated algorithms. But how will the new algorithms affect users of the social media giant?
In January of 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media platform will be shifting its focus towards “meaningful social interactions”. Gone are the days of Facebook attempting to maximise users’ screen time. Instead, over the last two years, users have supposedly been experiencing ‘quality time’ on the platform.
The term ‘quality time’ refers to the time that users spent on the platform interacting with posts that generate conversation. As per Zuckerberg, “The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Facebook is now placing emphasis on posts that can create conversation and start discussions, as part of their ‘meaningful interaction’ algorithm. Now for the casual Facebook user, this may not be a bad thing, as you’ll see more of what you may like, right? But what about the user that capitalises off Facebook? How are they able to gain high priority with Facebook’s new algorithm.
What factors satisfy Facebook’s new algorithm?
While you may believe that posting about every occurrence during your day is a great way to flood the feed, Facebook’s latest algorithm may cause this technique to backfire on you. In fact, posts that do not receive any ‘reacts’ or comments are very unlikely to appear in many user feeds. So what ensures that your posts don’t get lost in time?
Posts that receive ‘reacts’ and comments from other users are deemed as engaging content by Facebook’s latest algorithm. By posting content that evokes a response from users, you are putting yourself at an advantage to be promoted by Facebook’s algorithm.
Now before you go baiting other users with questions in your posts, it is worth nothing that the new algorithm detects this kind of behaviour. In fact, not only does it recognise bait-type behaviour, it also down-ranks the post in users’ news feeds.
Friends of Friends
Users tend to stick to likes and comments when engaging with posts, however, there are a select few posts that may resonate with users on another level, leading to the use of the ‘share’ action. While sharing may be deemed as the ultimate form of engagement, Zuckerberg has now placed importance on how shared posts are received.
Shares that do not generate engagement are less likely to be a high priority as part of the new algorithm.
As if finding time outside of Facebook wasn’t hard enough, the new algorithm seems to place an emphasis on time as a factor.
Although it has not been specifically stated by Facebook, the amount of time that users spend interacting with posts may affect its prioritisation in the news feed.
In conjunction, the time at which content is posted is an indirect factor to Facebook’s algorithm. Content that is posted when many users are online will naturally be prioritised higher than content that is posted during ‘off’ hours.
Giving out all your personal details to Facebook’s database doesn’t sound like the most rewarding action, however with the new algorithm aboard, this may all change.
Facebook tends to give higher priority to users that have more detail fields filled out as part of their profile. This is because more details means Facebook can gather an idea of who you are and who your followers are.
There’s something different about someone going out of their way to send you a link rather than simply tag you in a post. Facebook recognises this. It recognises this because it is considered ‘meaningful’, and that’s their goal after all, right?
Posts that have been shared by users individually via messenger or links receive high priority, as part of Facebook’s algorithm.
How Can You Benefit From The Algorithm?
If you’re a content producer or thrive off of a social media presence, the new algorithm may have you questioning your future in Facebook’s atmosphere. And while Zuckerberg hasn’t revealed any specifics on how to remain as one of the platform’s top posters, subtle hints have been dropped by the platform.
Broaden Your Content Format
Not everyone is built for the camera – it takes some charisma. But if users want to stand a chance against the new algorithm, switching over to the camera may have to become an option.
According to Zuckerberg, “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos do”.
Taking advantage of Facebook’s live feature may give you the edge over other content creators.
Do Your Research
With an emphasis on meaningful interactions, the new algorithm makes it essential for users to research their audience before continuing to post content. Content that interests audiences in turn leads to responses, thereby classified as a meaningful interaction by Facebook.
So take an interest in your core audience. What do they tend to react most heavily towards? What slips by unnoticed? Try a survey. Experiment with captions and images.
Invest In Yourself
Without properly dedicating yourself to self-improvement, it may be difficult to create engaging content for other users. One of the ways to invest in yourself is by expanding your advertising budget.
With the algorithm prioritising ‘engaging content’, it is important you make yourself stand out. Putting aside some extra dollars can help you propel yourself into Facebook’s top priority list.
Ironically, by connecting with other creators, you can help invest in yourself. Creators that have larger followings than yourself can help promote pieces of your content to their own followings – creating an ongoing loop of promotion.
During their shift towards a new algorithm in 2018, Facebook announced that local news would receive a high level of priority. This means that despite what is going on the other side of the world, you can maximise your chances of receiving high priority by posting about local news or events.
Try promoting local artists or businesses to help grow your consumer market and formulate new connections.
Back To Basics
Not everything has changed with the introduction of the new algorithm, as users are still able to somewhat customise their feed. The ‘See First’ option is still available to users and can be used to tailor their feeds.
By encouraging your consumers to select the ‘See First’ option on your content, you can boost your chances of reaching mass audiences by just that much. Facebook, after all, is trying to capitalise on ‘quality time’ and if users opt to see your content first, then so be it.
With the start of a new decade, social media is only bound to get that much more complicated. New algorithms and loopholes are being introduced almost every second day. However, with our analysis of Facebook’s latest changes, we’ve provided you with a guide on how you can stay ahead of the trends in the digital era.
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