Lookout, algorithm change! Well, it’s not what you think (Google!) but Facebook’s recent update to their News Feed has changed what and how users will see. This is a significant because it significantly alters what shows in a user’s newsfeed. And, by the way, EdgeRank — what was long referred to as Facebook’s algorithm that determines how content is displayed in the News Feed — is dead.
Anytime Facebook makes a change, you’re bound to get a sense of hysteria, disappointment and confusion. People tend to be creatures of habit and Facebook has a way of abruptly introducing features that drastically change the user experience. Fortunately, this one isn’t too drastic and feedback seems to be pretty positive from both users and marketers, thus far.
What The Update Does
In case you didn’t realize this, Facebook decides what is displayed to users, since there’s such an incredible amount of content shared for any given user at anytime. Rather than overwhelming users and allowing them to miss important status updates, photos, etc. Facebook relies on an algorithm to determine what should show up. What users and marketers have been critical is how this was determined, and the level of mystery to the algorithm that had been known as EdgeRank.
The Death of EdgeRank
Up until their announcement regarding the latest change, it was thought that EdgeRank was the name of the algorithm that determined what would show up. However, Facebook clarified that what they actually call EdgeRank was the original algorithm and has not been used in over two years. Even though you’ll hear the cries of EdgeRank being dead from marketers, the truth is that while it’s become more sophisticated and simply outgrown the EdgeRank name. There still exists an algorithm, it just isn’t named what we thought it was.
Why This Is Good For Marketers
Facebook stated that this update will be rolled out in phases, but the goal will be for more relevant updates and stories to appear in users’ News Feed. Facebook already takes into consideration things like how often you interact with the person or Page that’s posting an update, if you’ve ever liked or hidden an update from them in the past, and your relationship to them.
The challenge that this caused for Business Pages was that it became a difficult to get new Pages off the ground. Since they were new, hadn’t had the interaction and weren’t able to define the relationship with users much, a lot of those types of business page updates were hidden from the majority of their users. By the time they gained any traction, the content was too old to be considered relevant in Facebook’s eyes. The latest update changes this to be more favorable.
Story Bumping and More to Come
The new factor that has been rolled out to Facebook desktop and will be coming soon to Facebook mobile is Story Bumping. This will give updates that have been missed a push up the feed, as to give it more chances to be seen. Interactions with the update will then also play into how it’s displayed, but posts won’t just run out of time without being seen. While there will be more factors introduced, this is an encouraging change, so far.