Facebook | 2.8.16
Facebook users and Page owners can expect to see another change to its News Feed Algorithm. The company announced last week that beginning Feb 1, 2016, the algorithm will be more influenced by the data it receives from in-Feed user surveys and feedback from its Feed Quality Panel, more so than traditional signals such as likes, shares, and comments.
“News Feed will begin to look at both the probability that you will want to see the story at the top of your feed and the probability you will like, click, or share a story,” Facebook stated in a blog post. “We will rank stories higher in feed which we think people might take action on, and which people might want to see near the top of their News Feed.”
As with any change, Facebook notes, some Page owners can expect content distribution to improve on Facebook, while others see a decline. Facebook says this change “should not impact reach or referral traffic meaningfully for a majority of Pages.”
What surveys are you talking about?
The surveys mentioned in Facebook’s announcement are surveys shown to users everyday all around the world. Facebook users are asked how much they would like to see specific stories in their News Feed, which gives Facebook invaluable data to provide a better experience for its users, more so than likes, shares, and comments. This algorithm change is a long time coming for Facebook, which has been paying these group of users to rate the quality of their own News Feeds everyday since 2014.
In addition to this, the change will be influenced by the data it gathers from its worldwide user testing panel.
“We saw through our research that people reported having a better News Feed experience when the stories they see at the top are stories they are both likely to rate highly if asked and likely to engage with.”
“We are making an update to News Feed that combines these two signals. News Feed will begin to look at both the probability that you would want to see the story at the top of your feed and the probability that you will like, comment on, click or share a story. We will rank stories higher in feed which we think people might take action on, and which people might want to see near the top of their News Feed.”
What does this mean for Page owners?
According to Facebook, the update will not impact the “reach and referral traffic meaningfully for the majority of Pages,” and further noted that the impact of these changes we be based on the “composition of your audience and the rate of posting activity.” Pages will only see declines if the “rate at which their content is being clicked does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories at the top of their News Feed.”
Page admins are encouraged to avoid actions like encouraging likes or clicks, which may result in a spike in metrics but will be rebalanced by the new algorithm changes.
Facebook is focused on making the News Feed more “fundamentally human”. By seeking the sentiments of actual people, they can adjust a cold calculating algorithm into one that gives users the opportunity to communicate a wider variety of emotions and see what’s most important to them. In the next few weeks, the social platform is expected to release an expansion of the ‘like’ button with specific buttons for anger, sadness, love.