Facebook’s algo update: All news content, all the time?

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
Facebook recently revamped its newsfeed algorithm to prioritize news content in an effort to make the network more useful.

In the midst of rumors that Facebook is losing its popularity with teen audiences, the social network is refining its newsfeed algorithm to bring the most relevant and enjoyable content to people who are using the network. Moving forward, marketers will need to share news-driven articles and invite reader commentary to give brand content more exposure on the site.

Social audiences evolve, Facebook matures

According to a Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report, the social media population is maturing, and while the 18-to-29 audience boasts the highest saturation of users (89 percent), older demographics are getting on board. Facebook is finding diverse groups are looking for more news-focused social media content and fewer shallow posts.

A recent Facebook Newsroom post announced the network’s new algorithm, explaining updates are based on user survey results. Studies show people generally engage with high-quality news articles more than they do with trending memes. The social network used this feedback to reconfigure its algorithm to surface links to in-depth, timely articles in users’ newsfeeds more often, and it keeps them there if they generate chatter.

Here are some key takeaways from the update:

“We’re not trying to be the coolest. And we’re not trying to be the newest. We’re trying to be the most useful.” – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

- The new algorithm will surface links to articles that match with users’ interests
- News content will take a prominent position in mobile searches
- Articles that receive a lot of comments from friends and connections might be resurfaced to keep participants looped into conversations
- Facebook may show relevant articles underneath popular posts to support content discovery

In a recent interview with All Things D, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said this is part of a conscious decision in the platform’s evolution: “We’re not trying to be the coolest. And we’re not trying to be the newest. We’re trying to be the most useful.”

Stir the content pot to stay on top longer

As Facebook cultivates its image into a platform where people can turn for reliable and timely current events coverage about their favorite subjects (celebrities, sports teams, events, etc.), social media marketing campaigns must also adapt.

Simply sharing news content headlines on the platform can help brands gain more visibility online, but they can stay at the forefront of conversations by pairing stories with unique questions that ask readers to weigh in. By taking risks and asking for followers’ feedback, marketers may start conversations that keep their content at the top of newsfeeds longer, and also create openings for meaningful discussions that increase engagement.

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