What is the goal of the Facebook news feed?
Today a blog post from Product Manager Chris Turitzin (News Feed Ranking) answered that very question, in addition to answering what type of content you should post.
He starts by sharing the results of tests:
The goal of every update to News Feed is to show people the most interesting stories at the top of their feed and display them in the best way possible. We regularly run tests to work out how to make the experience better. Through testing, we have found that when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves. In fact, in our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends it led to on average 9 million more status updates written each day. Because of this, we showed people more text status updates in their News Feed.
While that might lead you to think that text updates are a smart engagement strategy for a page, that’s not quite the case:
Over time, we noticed that this effect wasn’t true for text status updates from Pages. As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types [emphasis added].
So that means 2 types of ranking systems for content. One for “people” someone knows and one for “things, brands, pages, etc.” people have liked. I’m kind of suprised though because I already figured this was something that was in place at Facebook.
So What Should You Post?
Well he shared a recommendation there as well. Going forward the best way to share a link is using the link-share feature.
The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share, so it looks like the one below. We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds.
I know for most page owners this probably isn’t a big change (as this has been the best practice for a while).
One Question That Remains
I know quite a few people who use their personal account for engagement. In those scenarios I would suggest to maybe lay off the link and image posts and try to see how engagement peaks with straight up text posts. Given this update you might be able to gain some higher engagement.
Either way this will be something to watch to see how this unfolds and how things change in the coming months.