Your guide to understanding the Facebook algorithm

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With 2.91 billion monthly active users and the third most visited website in the world, Facebook has the potential to be a highly valuable asset in a brand’s content strategy.

But you need to know how the social network’s algorithm works to unlock the goods.

What is the Facebook algorithm?

The Facebook algorithm is a ranking system that determines the order of posts users see when they check their feed. According to Facebook itself, the feed intends to show “stories that are meaningful and informative”.

How does the Facebook algorithm work?

The algorithm evaluates and arranges every Facebook post in order of what it predicts to be the most relevant content for the user. This process occurs every time a user refreshes their feed.

Today, Facebook diagnoses relevance in the news feed algorithm according to these key factors:

  • Who posted it: Users are more likely to see content from accounts they regularly interact with like posts from friends and family. 
  • Type of content: Be it videos or photos, the type of content users frequently view and engage with is shown first.
  • Interactions with the post: Posts with high engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc) are prioritized.

As engagement is the key metric in ensuring whether content gets boosted by the algorithm, brands need to put themselves in the best position when they create content through the eyes of the user.

They need to know how the target user likes being spoken to, the key questions and pain points they have, and what they value. This ensures brands are equipped with the understanding they need to deliver content that resonates with users, who are then motivated to boost the post by liking, reacting, commenting and sharing, etc.

Yes, Facebook has Reels too

Short-form video is quickly becoming the protagonist of the social media universe. Between the explosion of TikTok and the riding success of Instagram Reels, short-form video has proven to be highly effective at captivating audiences and increasing engagement.

Although Facebook hasn’t rushed to add Reels to its repertoire (compared with other platforms), Facebook Reels is still a show-stopper in a brand’s digital marketing strategy.

Facebook Reels are a great way to share user-generated content (content created by users as a result of a hashtag campaign or challenge) as well as repurposing existing brand content (namely that of TikTok). Because Facebook and Instagram are both owned by Meta, brands can automatically share Reels to both platforms when they publish.

Facebook itself said they’re “focused on making Reels the best way for creators to get discovered.” Because Facebook understands Reels are what users love to engage with, the platform makes it easy to locate the feature. Reels appear at the top of a user’s page, to the right of the stories icon. A vertical scrollable feed for Reels also appears partway down in the main feed.

These are just two of the many ways Reels can be located on Facebook – it’s what they want everyone to use! Because Reels are ultimately designed to enable users to discover new things, it’s a great medium to leverage in telling your brand story and promoting the thought leadership that exists within your company – all for the end goal of connecting and engaging with the audience.

As with other social platforms, harnessing the latest features is key to being favored by the Facebook algorithm. This is definitely what’s been seen with Reels! 

Here are some more best-practice tips on how to win with Facebook marketing:

  • Keep content on the platform
    Facebook wants users to stay on the platform. So, anytime a creator posts content that includes an external link (e.g. link to a post on another social media platform, blog post, article, etc), the post falls in the algorithm. Granted, it’s not always feasible to not include an external link but aim to keep such posts few and far between. Focus the bulk of your content and prioritize posts on winning engagement within the platform over calling users to click elsewhere.
  • Mix it up
    Users love variety. Give it to them by incorporating a range of content types into your Facebook marketing strategy (e.g. infographics, statics, memes, polls, Reels, etc). As well as maintaining a fresh-looking feed, it shows users that you’re engaged with the platform. Seeing this makes people more likely to keep following your page and Facebook will prioritize your posts on their news feed algorithm.
  • Only post quality content
    A brand’s presence on social media plays a big part in shaping its overall reputation. In today’s digital age, your potential customers are likely to flick through your social profiles to get an understanding of your brand personality and ultimately decide if they want to purchase your products and/or services. With this in mind, ensure everything you post is of high quality (e.g. no blurry images or shaky footage) and that it serves to build a positive public perception.
  • Post at the right time
    In the world of social media, the “right time” to post is when your followers are active. This is known as peak engagement time, which varies across platforms and industries. Post during peak engagement to get the best results possible and promote meaningful interactions from all the hard work you put into creating content!
  • Connect beyond posts
    If you want to build a loyal following, it isn’t enough to only post Facebook ads and/or organic. You need to harness the features of the platform that allow you to interact directly with people. For example, you could explore Facebook groups that are relevant to your industry and use them as a springboard to initiate meaningful conversations with others. Facebook groups are a great way to gain more visibility on market trends, user pain points and gaps in industry offerings.

Implement these tips to increase engagement, brand awareness and community rapport.

While a lot of great potential lies in embedding a legacy social platform in your digital marketing strategy, it’s not always easy to track the impact of your efforts. You have to manually extract performance data from the native platform and then transfer the information across multiple spreadsheets. What a headache!

Thankfully, there’s a much more seamless way to measure your digital impact.

When you connect all your accounts in the Digivizer platform, you can instantly track and compare the success metrics of all your digital marketing campaigns in a single view. This gives you the insight you need to understand what’s working as well as the areas that require a pivot. 

Sign up for free today to power your digital performance with data-driven insights.

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