Changes to Your Facebook News Feed Coming SoonWritten by Michael Levanduski
August 8, 2013 # 7:05 am # Industry News, Specials # 2 Comments
Facebook has announced two new updates to the way they will be sorting the organic posts in users newsfeeds. “Story Bumping” and “Last Actor” updates are designed to show users more of the content they want to see. The updates were prompted by the fact that as more and more people continue to join Facebook and build up huge lists of friends; it is becoming difficult to keep up with all the stories that are posted. This is compounded by the fact that most businesses today have active social media accounts where they regularly post content to their followers.
Facebook reported that the average user has about 1500 stories on every visit which are eligible to be displayed in the news feed. Some have far more than this, but even with 1500, it is difficult to ensure everything the users want to see is displayed at or near the top of their feed when they log in.
The two new features are designed to help ensure users aren’t missing the most important updates in their feed, even if it means displaying them out of chronological order.
Facebook currently looks at all the stories which were published since the last time a user was active, and displays the stories which are considered most important. When not all of them can be displayed, Facebook chooses which ones to show based on past interaction with the poster and other settings. Once Story Bumping is activated, however, it may also include older stories that the user hasn’t yet seen. If, for example, a user logs in and views only the top 10 posts on their news feed before they have to step away from the computer. There may be several stories which they haven’t seen yet, but are still considered important.
With Story Bumping, Facebook will push those unseen stories up in the feed so they can still be seen. If people are still interacting with that particular story, it will be even more likely that it is bumped up in the feed. When this feature was in testing, many individuals thought it would be confusing, but they found that engagement was increased due to this change.
For those who were testing Story Bumping there was a 5% increase on interaction with stories from Friends, an 8% increase in interaction on stories from Pages and an overall increase in stories read from 57% to 70%. This will not only improve the user experience, but also benefit Facebook and marketers who use Facebook pages or ads to market to customers.
The other change, known as “Last Actor” has already been implemented for most users, and uses real time signaling to help choose which stories should be shown in the news feed. Facebook actively keeps track of the last 50 interactions each user Facebook makes. This information is then used to determine which stories to display, and which ones to leave off of your newsfeed. The last 50 interactions are removed on a rolling basis, meaning each time you interact with the site, the 50th interaction drops off their logs.
If, for example, you’re regularly interacting with one friend, Facebook will be sure to display all posts by that individual. If you stop interacting with that person for a while (50 other interactions) than that individual might not show up in your News Feed as often anymore. Facebook reported seeing only a minor increase in the amount of engagement from this change, but it was enough to have them push forward with its rollout.
Benefit to Marketers
These changes, once fully implemented, could provide some significant benefits to marketers using Facebook to interact with their customers. Due to that fact that most brand pages end up getting regular comments made on them, it could push their posts to the top of News Feeds for those who missed the posting when it originally was made. In theory at least, this could lead to increased visibility for Facebook marketing.
Will this impact your marketing strategies at all? If so, share your thoughts below! You can see the official post from Facebook about these changes HERE.