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Facebook News Feed Is Using Qualitative Feedback to Show Relevant Stories

Everyone complains that Facebook is tweaking its News Feed algorithm to cause organic reach to keep falling. Though, despite what many believe, the company is constantly tweaking its News Feed in order to show you the stories that actually matter to you. So, if you’ve recently been asked what you like to see on your News Feed, now you know why.

Facebook announced that it will be using qualitative feedback from its users to show them relevant stories.

Historically, Facebook’s News Feed takes into consideration “the actions people take on Facebook—liking, clicking, commenting or sharing” to “determine what to show at the top of your News Feed”. But they are not the best and most representative elements of whether a post is relevant or that meaningful to a user. Therefore, the company has actually been asking its users to rate their experience and give feedback.

The results will make up a major part of what Facebook shows its users from now on. In a Newsroom blog post, Facebook engineers Cheng Zhang and Si Chen, explained that:

„As part of our ongoing effort to improve News Feed, we ask over a thousand people to rate their experience every day and tell us how we can improve the content they see when they check Facebook — we call this our Feed Quality Panel. We also survey tens of thousands of people around the world each day to learn more about how well we’re ranking each person’s feed. We ask people to rate each story from one to five stars in response to the question “how much did you want to see this story in your News Feed?”

News Feed ranking changes will now be based a lot on two signals – Facebook found that a better News Feed experience results when the stories users see at the top are actually both ones that they rate highly and are more likely to engage with.

Cheng Zhang and Si Chen explain that News Feed will begin to look at both the probability that you would want to see the story at the top of your feed and the probability that you will like, comment on, click or share a story. So, stories that Facebook things might take action on and ones they like to have at the top of their News Feed will rank higher. Simple.

So, the big question. “How will this affect my Page?”

Well, the short answer is that the effect of the change “will vary depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity”. It should NOT impact reach or referral traffic for most Pages. Some pages might see more referral traffic and some less. So, if the rate at which stories are clicked does not match people’s desire (feedback) then referral traffic should drop. The update should re-balance things little.

Facebook warns that, pages should avoid encouraging people to take an action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time.

So, sit tight and take the ride. There is nothing else one can do about it just at this moment. The best News Feed ranking strategies should start appearing soon, and Facebook will communicate these to users. So keep an eye out for updates on the News Feed Best Practices page. Until then, continue to use Facebook’s Page post best practices.