Social Media Monday: Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Take into Account Article Read Times

Facebook is constantly making changes to its news feed algorithm. Their algorithm effects the visibility of the content that you see come across your news feed. The quality of content will now be considered when Facebook’s algorithm looks at content and essentially ranks it’s importance and decided if they will display it on your news feed or not. The new algorithm will factor in time spent reading content, along with likes, shares, comments, etc.

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Facebook announced an algorithm update last June, but this update will now factor in time spent actually reading an individual post:

“For example, you may scroll quickly through your News Feed and like a photo of your friend’s graduation, followed by sharing a funny post from your sister. You keep scrolling and happen upon a post your cousin shared detailing everything she did and saw on her recent trip. Her post even includes a photo. You spend time reading her post and the interesting discussion about the best places to eat that had broken out in the comments on this post, but you don’t feel inclined to like or comment on it yourself. Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.”*

So the News Feed will now prioritize posts that you spend more time reading in addition to time that you spend reading content that is not on Facebook after you click a link from a post on Facebook. So think about your blog content, website content, etc.

From the announcement:

“We’re learning that the time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them. We are adding another factor to News Feed ranking so that we will now predict how long you spend looking at an article in the Facebook mobile browser or an Instant Article after you have clicked through from News Feed. This update to ranking will take into account how likely you are to click on an article and then spend time reading it. We will not be counting loading time towards this — we will be taking into account time spent reading and watching once the content has fully loaded. We will also be looking at the time spent within a threshold so as not to accidentally treat longer articles preferentially.”*

What does this mean for marketers?

This change will basically boost the reach of ‘quality’ (based on what Facebook deems quality content) content to you Facebook users.  If you are sharing a blog post on Facebook, and your audience is spending more time reading your content than the content of another blogger they are Facebook friends with, your content will outrank the others and this ranking will signal Facebook to share more of your future content with that reader.

We have always preached that quality matters greatly. But now, it is a matter of reaching your audience or not reaching your audience. If Facebook uses are simply skimming or (worse) skipping over your content, you will dramatically loose ranking in the algorithm and be able to reach less customers.

So, as long as you are if producing compelling, quality content that is getting good click-throughs from Facebook, and your audience is spending time reading your articles or posts, then you’re all good – the change should actually help you rank higher in the News Feed even if your readers don’t Like or comment on your updates.

What does this mean for the consumer?

This is good news for the consumer! This means that you don’t have to see that spammy content that you skip over on a daily basis on your News Feed. You will only see the content that you are reading or engaging with.

Your feed will now fill itself with promotions, posts and articles that you have proven to Facebook that you care about. The more time you spend observing and digesting a users content, the more it will show up on your News Feed.

Facebook says the updated algorithm will be rolling out over the next few weeks and that they don’t expect that most Pages will see any significant changes*.

 

Are you excited about the new Facebook algorithm changes? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

Source: Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Take into Account Article Read Times – Social Media Today

 

Kaitlyn Ivancic

Kaitlyn Ivancic

Director of Consumer Marketing for SHOP.COM
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