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Facebook updates News Feed Algorithm with Story Bumping and Last Actor

on August 18, 2013

The virtual world seems to have taken over our real lives. If you want to tell the world about anything, post an update, and voila! It will notify all your friends (real friends and Facebook friends both) where you were, with whom, and what you were doing. Facebook seems to have become an integral part of almost everyone’s life. It’s the first thing we check in the morning and the last activity before going to bed. If you have a Facebook account, you will, by default, know what’s going on in the lives of your friends because your homepage is filled with it.

With the various applications and features that are constantly being introduced and updated, Facebook has been successful in attracting more and more users every day.

What is Facebook Newsfeed:

When you open your Facebook account, the home stream is filled with stories about what our friends are doing, where they have checked in, new pictures, videos etc. etc. which in simple terms, is a medley of information. Some catch our interests and others we just skip, yet there is so much. According to the engineering manager at Facebook, Lars Backstorm, an average user has around 1500 possible stories filtered through per day out of which only 20% make up our feed.

How Facebook Newsfeeds works:

The 20% feed that we see is determined through the systematic algorithm, which is almost like a customized newspaper which focuses on the stories it presumes the users will find most interesting. The process allocates each new story a score, wherein the highest scoring stories make it to the top of the feed. The scores are dogged taking into account a number of factors, such as the bond you have with the user posting it, the amount of comments, likes and shares, the story has accumulated.

The latest updates on Facebook:

On 6th August, Facebook unveiled it’s latest updates on the News feed algorithm which features Story Bumping, Last Actor, and Multiple feeds.

Here’s how it goes:

1. Story Bumping

Formerly, every time a user refreshed their feed, stories that would automatically come on the top were newest, regardless of their scores – high or low. But, with the change in ranking process, it now enables the older stories with higher rankings (viz. likes, comments, shares etc.) to join the ‘new’ stories at the top of your feed.

For example, if you login into Facebook at 9 AM and on your home stream you scroll down and see 15 stories. Then you either go to your timeline or logout. In this case you miss a story that was beyond your scrolling. If one of the missed story get lots of likes, comments and shares then chances are that next time when you login into facebook that story will be shown at the top of your news feed.

facebook Story Bumping

[Image courtesy of the Facebook for Business Blog]

This change has been implemented on Facebook’s web version, but is still being rolled out on mobile devices. A recent study by Facebook found that this new ranking system led to a 13% increase in stories read, and a 5% increase in interactions (Likes, shares, comments), meaning, that this new strategy has created an uptick in user engagement. The story bumping however, does not affect the ads on the News Feed.

 

2. Last Actor

Another change to the algorithm looks at a user’s last 50 interactions, placing a higher priority on the friends or pages they’ve interacted with most recently.

Last Actor

 [Image courtesy of AllFacebook.com]

For example, if someone interacts with a post at 8 AM, facebook might show him or her more of that person’s or brands post later in the day and give the original post a slightly higher score.

Large and small brands on facebook must make a note of this feature because if someone engages frequently with a brnds page, he or she could potentially see a lot more of that brands content.

 

Chronological order by actor

One of the other changes which is still under development is “Chronological order by actor”. This feature is expected to be released in the future, and we imagine the details of these will be shared at that time.

 

 

Last Actor is currently available on the web and mobile, while Story Bumping is available on the web only and it will be added to mobile soon.

Like it or not, these Facebook news feed algorithm updates are here to stay!  Do leave a comment below if you have any questions about facebooks news feed updates and we will be happy to help.

Posted in: Facebook, Social Media for B2C

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