Playing Facebook’s Algorithm

Posted on October 24th, 2016

Facebook’s algorithm changes a lot (for those of you that don’t know, we call Facebook’s newsfeed algorythm EdgeRank). There’s probably 1,000 different things that go into what makes you rank – in a lot of ways Facebook’s EdgeRank is very similar to what drives Google search engine. Both are looking at certain things to determine what will be displayed first.

While it’s impossible to know every single thing Facebook looks at, there’s a couple main things we can focus on to get better organic reach.

Pictures vs links vs text

It used to be that Facebook valued all posts equally – that is no longer true. Facebook now looks at high quality news articles over pictures. This kind of looks like this:

By creating a post as a blog article, we were able to reach about 11 times more people than we were by posting a picture. Now these are obviously two different pieces of content and will preform differently, but this trend holds true across most of Facebook. The blog article drove about 3,000 hits (10,000 pageviews) to our blog, and about 500 hits to our store. The picture drove 50 hits to our store.

Blind engagement is king

One of the biggest thing Facebook looks at is how are people engaging with your posts. This part is really fascinating because engagement used to be the “cause” of what made a post go viral. You create a good picture, people share it, millions of people see it. Now the process is – you create a good post, Facebook will determine what % of people engage with it, and then based on that (and a lot of other factors) Facebook will decide just how many people to show your post to.

This means that you can’t just focus on your call to action & if you are keeping a consistent brand. “Buy now” doesn’t sell on Facebook. You need to make people feel something, to make them engage with your content in some way even if it’s just clicking on the picture to see it in a larger resolution. Every like, comment, share, or click is a vote telling Facebook to show your post to more people.

Click bait is good, just not obvious click bait

But just because Facebook is blindly looking at engagement doesn’t mean it wont penalize you if it thinks you’re trying to abuse the system. You can’t say “share this post if _____!”, Facebook looks at the keywords in your post description, and if it sees anything along the lines of you telling your audience to specifically share, comment or like, it will penalize your post. You need to show people something organic & authentic.

We try to create blog posts around this idea. We’ll talk about 4 awesome reasons hippies are better friends – it’s a bold statement, it might anger some people, clicking “like” is a declaration that you agree with this lifestyle that we are portraying. Beardbrand just did a great article about how there’s isn’t poop in their beards. Content like that is great, it will create enough of an emotion that people will click through and engage with your brand.