What is an algorithm?
In this scenario, it’s the order that content gets displayed in a social feed, or search results. On Facebook, you don’t see the most recent posts. You might have a friend you haven’t seen any status updates from in months, and then look at their profile and see they’ve been posting frequently. The algorithm adjusts what you will see based on what it predicts you are most likely to engage with, often creating a feedback loop. Likewise, certain types of content you post are more likely to be seen by more of your friends than others, based on the content of that post. This is also true of Instagram.
Facebook algorithm changes in 2020
When new products are launched on Facebook (such as Facebook Stories, Live, Marketplace, Jobs, etc) it’s often a really great opportunity to test drive them and ride a wave of heightened algorithms. It will depend on what type of business you are, but there is commonly some creative way to leverage it and whatever you do with those features are going to organically reach a lot more people. These will also become additional placements for ads. If your business sells purses, your ads might appear amongst second-hand purses for sale on Marketplace. On a more technical level, major algorithm changes were introduced in 2018, to prioritize a feed of content created by friends instead of publishers. In 2020, the algorithm is designed to foster a better sense of trustworthiness on Facebook, coming off of damage to Facebook’s brand following Cambridge Analytica legal battles and perpetuation of “fake news”. Posts with words that trigger discomfort are being suppressed more than before. For example, “Want to lose weight in 2020?” is likely to be punished by the algorithm and seen by less people compared to “Feel your best in 2020”, because Facebook is optimizing for people to see posts they are most likely to have a positive reaction to. Traditional advertising would typically have better success with wording that points out the problem, and how the product/service solves it. There is more emphasis now on showcasing a good feeling that comes from the product/service.
The exception is what Facebook deems as something that can prompt conversation or “Meaningful Interactions”:
– Passive signals: View time, story type, time posted, etc.
– Active signals: Likes, comments, shares. This is ideal.
Another algorithm change to watch out for in 2020, is the relevance to your audience and quality of the content historically on your Page. If products in the Shop, Ads or Boosts are rejected commonly, the price of running ads will gradually increase. It flags the account in a similar way to how spam is flagged in your emails. This is very difficult for brands relating to health, because making health claims will be rejected (example: Superfood). If you never reply to messages from customers, or it takes a long time, that is also likely to get punished in ad costs. Text in images will cause them to be suppressed, even if the ad is not rejected, and sometimes it thinks there’s text when there’s not (for example, an image of wires). Videos should be 3 minutes long, and will be rewarded if repeat viewers tend to come back for new releases. Original content is rewarded over shared content.
Retargeting could be impacted by a feature being tested that allows users to clear their browsing history. More interactive camera features will allow purchases from videos, such as AR integrations on Messenger, or a camera feature in Stories that opens image filters custom to your brand. If your business sells wearable items, or home decor, that could be quite lucrative. As an agency, it’s amazing to see how different the costs can be for different types of businesses so having good background knowledge to strategize is key.
Give us a call for a consultation about how your business can be more profitable on Facebook amongst anticipated algorithm changes in 2020.