Facebook rolls out new story ‘bumping’ feature

A modified algorithm for the posts that appear on users’ News Feeds means more than merely avoiding unwelcome photos of your friends’ kids, especially for brands.

I was at a restaurant with friends last night when the topic of Facebook came up. We each recounted reasons why several at the table rarely use the social platform anymore:

• It’s become overtaken by photos of our acquaintances’ children;
• The sponsored content is often preposterous;
• Other social platforms have become more intriguing;
• I don’t need to see how much fun other people are having every time I’m bored;
Seriously, the pictures of friends’ kids is completely out of hand.

Sure, we were just eight random 20- and 30-somethings on the north side of Chicago, so our experience is not entirely indicative of the state of the world’s largest social network, but these are problems that Facebook will be forced to combat if it wants to keep millennials using their service.

One way they’re doing it is to constantly tweak the algorithm that determines what users see when they log in. One such improvement is rolling out this week. Facebook details its biggest change:

“Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of News Feed if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.”

In a conference call with journalists yesterday, News Feed engineering manager Lars Backstrom said, “Our main goal is really to make the best personalized newspaper for our users.”

So, what does this mean for brands? Before, non-sponsored posts got the bulk of their engagement in the first few minutes of being posted. A post that saw 1,000 “likes” in the first 15 minutes would probably see another 100 total, on average. (I don’t have hard data to back this up, just two years of experience in posting and monitoring some larger brands.)

Now, presumably, those successful, non-sponsored posts have a better chance of staying in more people’s news feeds. The “bumping” feature, as it’s being called (posts which are bumped to the top despite being older) will benefit brands, Advertising Age reports:

Based off its test with employees, Facebook claims that engagement for posts from “pages”—which could be from a brand, an organization, or a public figure—were up 8%. Among posts by regular users, the engagement lift was 5%.

Good content will always reign. Produce good content, share it through your channels, and people will engage. Facebook can tinker with its algorithm all it wants, but good content will always remain good content.

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