Following Facebook’s scrapping of the rule on using text in Cover Photos and introduction of hashtags, there’s more good news for brands and businesses. Facebook has introduced two new features that will help users find content and discover new stories on the News Feed; ‘story bumping’ and ‘last actor’.
Before explaining the improvements and their benefit to Pages, here’s an explanation of how content is displayed in the News Feed. An average users Friends and Pages generate around 1500 stories per day which means it’s unlikely that all of these will be seen on the News Feed. So Facebook uses a ranking system to determine what appears in our News Feeds. It scores each story based on three main criteria; the Friend’s or Page’s relationship to the user, its content – eg photos score higher than text, plus how many Likes, Comments and Shares it has. Higher ranked stories are then placed at the top of the News Feed. In simple terms, the News Feed shows you stories that you will find most interesting. If the ranking system thinks that you’ll find a post very interesting, it will be published near the top. If a story is less interesting to you, it will be published further down, below other things that seem more important.
Story bumping is an improvement to the ranking system that places stories that you might have missed at the top of the News Feed. Previously new stories were placed at the top but this change places stories that are new to you at the top of the Page. For example, stories that you didn’t scroll down to when checking Facebook in the morning are brought back to the top alongside newer content posted, when you look at your News Feed in the afternoon.
This is great news for Page owners as it means more or their posts will be seen. During testing Facebook saw an 8% increase in interactions from Pages with the percentage of stories read grew from 57 percent to 70 percent. Story bumping is now live on the web version of Facebook and will be added to mobile shortly.
This tweak to the News Feed places more prominence on recent conversations and actions you’ve had with Friends and Pages. The algorithm will now keep track of the last 50 Likes, Comments and Shares and ensure that more posts with users and Pages you’ve recently interacted with will be included in your News Feed. Like story bumping this change means increased visibility for Pages that interact with their Fans. Last actor has been rolled out both to the Facebook on the web and mobile apps.
These changes make it even more important for businesses and brands to create engaging, interesting and relevant content that generates interaction in the form of Likes, Comments, Shares and Clicks to ensure their Page and content obtains as much visibility as possible. For ideas on how to do this read – 5 ways to encourage interaction on Facebook.