How does the Facebook algorithm work?

How does the Facebook algorithm work?

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Facebook has more than 2.5 billion users who connect to the platform every month, including 38 million French users active in 2020. It would therefore seem that Facebook is still a communication ground for brands, but what will be the new challenges for the algorithm in 2021?

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The evolution of the Facebook algorithm

Since its inception in 2004, the Facebook algorithm has undergone numerous updates to make it more relevant to users and to adapt to new content formats, such as video. In recent years, some changes in the algorithm have been particularly noteworthy:

  • A very rapid development in 2018 to offer more personalized content to users.
  • A drop of more than 2% in the reach of publications on professional pages in 2019.
  • More transparency given to users regarding the display of their news feeds in 2020.

Facebook’s algorithm therefore seems to be increasingly concerned with the quality of the content it offers to its users and it seems that its updates are still in line with this in 2021.

The Facebook algorithm in 2021

Below, discover the main new features of the Facebook algorithm in 2021. The new features are classified according to several categories: professional pages, news feed, publications, advertising and platform features.

New features of the algorithm for displaying the news feed

  • In 2021, Facebook decides to focus on connections between users, their friends and their family. This is why posts from personal accounts will have more reach than posts from professional pages.
  • New options to customize the display of the news feed will emerge such as the option “see first” or “unsubscribe”. These options will allow users to have more control over the content offered to them.
  • Friends activity will completely disappear from the News Feed, an initiative that has been in place on Instagram for some time.
  • Reliable, informative and local news will be highlighted.
  • The average time that users spend on an account’s stories will become a factor in increasing or decreasing the visibility of that account’s posts.

New Algorithm for Professional Pages

  • Pages that are used to using engagement “bait” in their posts will have significantly reduced reach.
  • Pages that broadcast fake news will receive warnings.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is not reducing the reach of business pages for pushes to use advertising. If the reach is reduced, it is to encourage pages to produce better content. Thus, only one watchword will be applied: quality.

New features of the algorithm for publications

Facebook has redoubled its efforts to show quality posts to its users. Thus, many criteria have been revised in order to avoid the effect of spamming and the propagation of false information or “fake news”. Below, the main new features of the Facebook algorithm that work in this direction.

  • Posts that trigger interactions between users will be highlighted.
  • Posts that feature a visual that suggests it is a video will have reduced reach.
  • Posts that share a link with slow web page loading will have reduced reach.
  • Facebook will prioritize genuine posts and decrease the reach of those that are misleading or already posted by a number of other accounts or pages in order to avoid the spam effect.
  • Posts that contain an image or video will have more reach than a post that contains only text.
  • Posts that use a headline that is too catchy will have reduced reach.
  • Posts that link to a website with a poor user experience will have reduced reach.
  • Videos will once again become the type of content that will be prioritized the most by Facebook’s algorithm, especially live videos and long, engaging videos.
  • Publications that are deemed “too promotional” will have less reach.
  • Posts that explicitly ask readers to respond will automatically be reduced in scope.

New in the algorithm for advertisements

Facebook has planned two major changes to improve the quality of content powered via Facebook Ads:

  • Pages that broadcast fake news will no longer have access to Facebook Ads and will therefore no longer be able to sponsor their publications.
  • Offensive and inappropriate advertising will be stopped.

New features to better understand users

Always with a view to quality, Facebook has implemented a number of actions to better understand its users. Below are the main changes to remember.

  • Surveys will appear more and more often in the news feed in order to allow Facebook to improve the display of the latter.
  • Facebook will make more use of post reactions to help companies better understand their audiences.
  • The timing of user reactions to publications will be considered. This suggests that a post that creates reactions quickly will be preferred in the display of the news feed. More importantly, this study will determine a tone of rebound that will allow Facebook to judge if a publication uses the technique of “clickbait” (“clickbait” in English).

Priority to certain features of the social network

Facebook seems to be overtaken by other social networks experiencing phenomenal development thanks to the development of strong features like Snapchat and its filters or TikTok and its short videos.

However, Facebook seems to have two features that no other social network has been able to integrate so effectively: groups and events. It would be precisely these two features that would encourage users to return to the platform.

So it’s no surprise that Facebook’s new algorithm highlights group activities and events in news feeds.

Facebook’s new algorithm: what to remember in 2021

Changes in Facebook’s algorithm will inevitably change the performance of business pages.

In this regard, people who are not fans of a page will no longer see its content appear in their news feed, even if it is very qualitative. The only way for a page to be visible to people who don’t follow it is for the content to be shared by its fans.

The good behaviors to adopt to be granted the good graces of the new algorithm are therefore:

  • Understand what users want to see.
  • Create quality publications with high added value.
  • Share these posts in Facebook groups.
  • Promote enriching interactions between users.
  • Promote video content.
  • Deal with current affairs.

In addition, Facebook states that “the impact of these changes on your page distribution will vary considerably depending on the makeup of your audience and your publishing activity. In some cases, the reach of publications and referral traffic could potentially decrease ”.

This clarification suggests that small pages or newly created pages will find it increasingly difficult to increase their visibility. However, nothing will be impossible if they circumvent the restrictions by favoring the use of the functionalities which are acclaimed by the algorithm.

For further, download this free guide to marketing on Facebook and learn how to build your Facebook marketing strategy.

CTA: The Guide to Marketing on Facebook

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