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Inbound Marketing Blog


How Facebook Decides What Ends Up In Your Newsfeed

Posted by Andre' Savoie on Aug 4, 2014 3:14:44 AM

Despite the recent complaining about Facebook putting the squeeze on businesses that want to reach their fans, it remains the elephant in the room that you can’t ignore when it comes to social media.

However, for how much attention Facebook gets for being such a powerful tool, very few people seem to actually understand how it works.

Let me clarify. Most people understand the basics, but don’t really understand what formula is used to determine whether or not your post makes it into someone’s news feed, and how often.

Behind the Numbers

Back in 2012, the truth about how many people would see your updates was already bleak. On average, only 16% of your connections would ever be exposed to your posts. That’s not a speculative estimate either. Facebook came out and said as much.

Unfortunately, nowadays, that number is believed to be just 6% and there are indications it may soon be down as low as 1%.

Why the Numbers Keep Falling

The reason organic reach continues to fall seems to have as much to do with Facebook’s success as it does with any sort of shortcoming on their part in terms of improving the newsfeed.

That’s because the main reason people aren’t seeing your updates has to do with the sheer volume of updates there are now compared to just a few years ago.


Today, on average, people have 338 Facebook friends. Back in 2008, that number was just 130. Plus, 15% of today’s Facebook users have over 500 friends.

These numbers mean that, on average, Facebook could show you anywhere between 1,500 and 15,000 updates each time you log onto the site. That’s a startling amount of information.

Facebook’s Algorithm

Just like Google decides what ends up in your search results by applying an algorithm, Facebook has its own system many refer to as EdgeRank. This algorithm uses more than 100,000 metrics to decide what you’ll see.

These metrics include things like:

  • Whom You Interact With
  • How You Interact with Them
  • When a Comment Was Made
  • What Type of Content Usually Gets You to Interact

What this Means for You

You’re not alone if this really aggravates you from a marketing or business standpoint.

Depending on how long you’ve been using Facebook, you may remember the glory days when it was a marketer’s paradise. However, if you’ve been around that long, the above numbers shouldn’t really surprise you that much. Over the past couple of years, you probably noticed the level of interaction falling on your business page.

Fortunately, all is not lost if you embrace Facebook’s new pay-for-play model of advertising. It’s not that it’s a sure thing and, no, it will probably never compare to the aforementioned days of easy marketing wins. But it still has promise for those willing to put in the time.

Other Helpful Tips

Don’t give up on starting pages and publishing posts though. It still has potential and it’s completely free. Just be sure you keep in mind the following tips.

  • Post Regularly: I’m talking at least three times a day. This is how you end up in more people’s feeds.
  • Try Different Times: Picking when to post will only work if you know your market. For some, posting after 5pm will make the most sense. For others, normal business hours may not be an issue.
  • Shorter Is Generally Better: You may have to do some experimenting to find out what your crowd likes, but for the most part, keep your posts short. If nothing else, use a short post to advertise a link where you can further elaborate.
  • Optimize Evergreen Content: Topical posts are important, but don’t forget about evergreen content. So long as the information is relevant, you have posts you can republish from time to time, gaining greater exposure and saving yourself some work.

Facebook is far from dead in terms of being a marketing tool. But anyone who doesn’t appreciate the above is going to be frustrated by what the world’s largest social media platform is able to do for them.

Topics: social media, Facebook

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