Facebook has been announcing a lot of changes to the News Feed lately, and on Thursday, the company announced a couple more related to trending topics, likes, and comments.
The first change relates to how Facebook factors in trending topics.
The company explains, “One way we show timely content higher-up in News Feed is to show people stories about things that are trending as soon as they occur, so you can immediately know what your friends or favorite Pages are saying about the stories of the day. This means that when a friend or Page you are connected to posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner. Early testing of a small percentage of posts has shown that this update on average leads to a more than 6% increase in people engaging with these stories (e.g., more people share, comment, like or click).”
I think I might have been in this test group without realizing it, because I feel like I’ve already been seeing this. As a user, it is interesting to see when your friends are talking about trending stories. No complaints on this one.
The other new change has to do with how Facebook uses a post’s likes and comments as signals. The timing of these engagements will come into play more now.
“If people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests that the post was most interesting at the time it was posted, but potentially less interesting at a later date,” Facebook says. “Based on this signal it is more likely to appear higher in News Feed earlier on and lower at a later date.”
Facebook says it will take this signal into account when considering what stories to bump in the News Feed (in case you’re unfamiliar with the “bumping” concept, this is when Facebook resurface stories that people didn’t scroll down far enough to see, but are still getting a lot of engagement).
As usual, the changes are rolling out gradually, and Facebook says you shouldn’t expect posts to see significant changes in distribution because of the update.
“If a Page posts about a trending topic or if a post sees a high velocity of engagement early on that then drops off, that post may begin to see increased distribution early on and less distribution over time,” Facebook says. “Pages should keep producing great content that is relevant and resonates with their audience.”
Last week, Facebook announced some ad-related News Feed updates. You can read more about those here.
Image via Facebook