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Facebook Announces Updates to News Feed Algorithms to Promote Older, Popular Stories

FacebookFacebook has just unveiled a couple of new algorithms for its News Feed during a media session at its California HQ, as the social network tries to meet the growing challenge of its ever-increasing number of users, how those users consume content, and how brands can ensure their content reaches its target audience.

The first algorithm, and probably the most important one for businesses, is the Story Bumping feature. This feature not only considers new stories to present to a user when they open their News Feed, but older stories that are attracting a significant number of likes and comments, which the user may not have noticed on their last News Feed visit.

Story Bumping proved to be incredibly effective during Facebook’s internal testing process, resulting in around 70 per cent increase in stories read, with a five per cent increase in engagement with posts from Friends, and an eight per cent rise in engagement with Page posts.

In a blog post on its Facebook for Business site, Lars Backstrom, a data scientist at Facebook, said: “The goal of the News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them.

“With so many stories [being posted], there is a good chance people would miss something they wanted to see if we displayed a continuous, unranked stream of information.

“Ideally, we want News Feed to show all the posts people want to see in the order they want to read them.”

The other algorithm that Facebook has introduced is known as “Last Actor”. This involves Facebook keeping track of a user’s last 50 interactions on a rolling basis, and using this information to “rank” how future stories appear in their news feed.

This feature has now been rolled out to both the web and mobile sites, and although internal testing of Last Actor produced only a small increase in engagement, it was obviously a significant enough increase for Facebook to make the algorithm publicly available.

Have you noticed the new Facebook algorithms in action on your News Feed?


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