Facebook’s Algorithm: 3 Must-Know Changes

Social Media Marketing


Facebook is always tinkering with its algorithms and it can be challenging to keep track of everything. This summer, Facebook’s key updates included demoting spammers, screening out fake news, testing AI with a personal assistant “M,” as well as bringing emojis and new filters to Facebook Messenger.

The name of the game for Facebook advertising is quickly becoming Facebook Messenger. As Facebook’s newsfeed becomes more and more saturated with content, the platform will be expanding its options for how to reach your customers. It will deprioritize slow-loading pages and is giving you the tools to compete with deeper insights into your fans, non-fans, and closest followers.

In this blog, you’ll find the three things you need to know about the recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm.

1. Messenger Ads are now Available Worldwide

Initially tested in Australia and Thailand, brands can now reach Facebook users (all 2.01 billion of them!) directly through their Facebook messenger app. These ads will appear in a user’s inbox, according to Facebook, based on “how many threads a user has, the size of their phone’s physical screen and the pixel density of the display.” Messenger ads come with a “sponsored” label in the home tab of the Messenger app. They are formatted to look like a typical newsfeed ad, including the headline, copy, image, and calls to action. Users can then click through to any website or destination you select when setting up the promotion. If you’re on the receiving side of a Messenger ad, there’s no way to permanently turn off ads, but a user can tap the downward arrow in the bottom right of an ad and see options to report or hide it.

This has big implications for marketers looking to expand to a global audience. Start to think through your customer segmentation strategy. Be willing to branch out from your traditional Facebook strategy and beat the crowds sure to flock to this new tool in due time.

See Powerful New Ad Metrics and Page Insights

Facebook has unveiled some new, deep, and robust marketing analytics that will have big implications for your marketing strategy. Besides making your analytics page easier to read and digest, Facebook has some hot new data, fresh off the presses.

First, Facebook will break down reach between fans and non-fans. Now, you can see who shares your posts the most. Why is this important? With this information, you can measure the value of your current fans. If you’re getting more traction with non-fans, this should help you adjust your sales strategy: it’s possible that your so-called “fans” aren’t evangelists. How can you activate them to advocate on your behalf? If your non-fans are IRL ( in real life) your biggest fans, what can you do to entice them to convert as customers?

Next, Facebook is giving you a window into when your fans are online. Yes, there are plenty of tools that tell you your optimal posting time (and often these tools contradict themselves). Now, you can gauge optimal times for your page yourself. Using historical data, you can see the average amount of fans who saw posts in an hour on any given day, as well as the average number of people who saw any posts on Facebook at that hour.

Last but not least, Facebook has finally included official statistics for engagement rate with statuses, photos, videos, or links. Refine what content works best for your brand, and get the most lift from optimum posting times. Paired with your engagement platform and CRM system, your sales funnel has never looked brighter.  

Newsfeed Prioritizes Fast-Loading Web Pages

This summer, Facebook’s Newsfeed article has started to give a boost to faster loading web pages—and punish sites with long load times. What does this mean for marketers? It’s not enough to have the right image, compelling copy, and a smart targeting strategy. If you’re trying to funnel an audience to a sign-up page or to learn more about your product, your website must be optimized.

How does Facebook determine if the speed of a page is too slow? The algorithm will factor in the estimated load time of a web page when someone clicks a link on the Facebook mobile app, versus desktop. It will also account for the user’s current network speed and the general speed of the web page off of the Facebook platform. If a link loads more quickly, a post including that link will get a higher position in your newsfeed.

In part, this strategy is an effort to push marketers to use Facebook’s Instant Articles tool. Instant Articles launched in 2015 as a new way for publishers to optimize their content so readers can access it instantly. Instant Articles do link back to an article or website, but in terms of referral traffic, those who view your content as an instant article won’t actually visit your website—and you’ll lose track of how much impact Facebook has.

However, it seems like Instant Articles are here to stay. In the US and Canada, Facebook users click and read over 25% more than the mobile web version of that same article. Stats get even higher in Asia and the rest of the world. If you want your content to compete, make sure your web page is optimized to load quickly and rank highly.

What changes will impact your brand the most? What adaptations will you make to your social strategy? I’d love to hear what you’re doing in the comments!