Optimizing for the News Feed
By: Christine Beury, Sr. Marketing Director, Efficient Frontier/Context Optional
How to Thrive in Today’s Facebook News Feed
Kevin Barenblat, CEO of Context Optional, presented at DMA recently on how to optimize posts for the News Feed. There were some helpful and timely tips that came out of this presentation.
The recent changes to the Facebook News Feed seem to be beneficial to brands. The unification of Top News and Recent News combined with the new Ticker provides more opportunities for a brand’s post to make it into a user’s News Feed.
That said, a small number, estimated between 1–10 percent of posts, actually make it to the News Feed.
It’s clear that in many cases brands aren’t taking the time to understand how EdgeRank, the algorithm that is used to populate the News Feed, affects their Facebook posts. While Facebook has not released details on the algorithm, we’ve gleaned from them that it’s based on a combination of affinity, interaction and timeliness.
- Affinity: This is based on the proximity or how “friendly” a person is with another. The more a person interacts with another, the more you’ll find them appearing in your News Feed. Affinity is one-way. For example, if you visit an old fling’s profile it doesn’t increase the likelihood of you appearing in their News Feed.
- Interaction: Different content types are weighted differently. More engaging posts such as videos, photos and links, seem to be valued more.
- Timeliness: A post that is newer is more likely to appear than one that is older.
Now let’s look at some best practices to optimize for each of these:
Request interaction. There is no easier way to get interaction than to ask for it. Asks questions of your fans to increase ‘Likes’, comments and new interaction types that will be added with the new generation of Open Graph.
Share content from other sources. If you don’t have content, then find interesting content from others related to yours and share it in the form of links. It gives you the opportunity to leverage trending, relevant topics.
Use content types that are more heavily weighted. Assuming video, photos and links are more highly valued, it makes sense to include a range of content in your posts. As the new Open Graph rolls out, we expect that posts related to the ‘action verb’ apps to be weighted more heavily.
Use content that generates more engagement. Post content that encourages interaction, in the form of ‘calls to share’, questions and polls.
Time your posts to garner the greatest Fan response. Just because you may be online during the workday does not mean that is the best time to post content to Facebook. Experiment with different time slots and monitor what happens. You may find that content you post during the day would do much better in the early evening. Use a publishing solution to implement. Ticker makes it even more important to be posting when you fans are viewing their News Feed.
Of course, what works for one brand may not necessarily work for another brand. Each Fan base is unique. Experiment with different types of posts and content until you find the right mix. Use insights from an analytics tool, such as what Context Optional offers, to get data your need about Fans and interactions to help in the decision-making process.
Even with these general guidelines, there is no hard and fast rule. But, starting with an understanding of EdgeRank, experimenting and monitoring your post results will best equip you to optimize for the News Feed.