More than 700 million people use Facebook’s News Feed daily, but not many of them understand how it works. Today, that all changes with the introduction of Story Bump and several other improvements that aid in the discovery of new stories.
Previously, Facebook relied on a system called EdgeRank to compile stories in News Feeds. Now retired, the social network is using new signals to organize feeds, such as who people interact with, what they like, and the kinds of stories they interact with most.
The idea behind Story Bumping is that stories that someone hasn’t seen get pushed above the ones he or she has. Previously the News Feed would rate all published stories since logging in and display the best ones. Posts that didn’t make the cut got buried under other stories, making it unlikely that anyone would ever see it.
With Story Bumping, Facebook won’t just look at what stories have been published since someone last looked at the News Feed, but all of the recent stories that the person hasn’t seen. This way he or she will see more relevant stories, even if they’re a little bit older.
According to Facebook, this method has resulted in five percent more Likes, comments, and shares on stories from friends and an eight percent boost in interactions for stories from Pages. Additionally, potentially visible stories read increased from 57 percent to 70 percent, meaning that people are reading more content.
Another new feature, Last Actor, takes into consideration the most recent factors from someone’s Facebook activity. For example, if someone interacts with a post at 8am, the social network might show him or her more of that person’s post later in the day and give the original poster a slightly higher score.
The updated algorithm will keep track of the last 50 interactions and will apply that to help rank individual News Feeds so most posts by the last actor will be included. For brands, if someone engages frequently with your Page, he or she could potentially see a lot more of your content.
A final change that is still in development will eventually let News Feed look at a particular member’s posts that Facebook finds relevant and arrange it in a chronological order by actor. This will give a higher score to the most recent stories from friends — so someone’s 1pm post will appear higher than his or her 2pm post.
This feature is expected to be released in the future, and we imagine more details 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 — it will be added to mobile soon. So to recap, a general rule of thumb for all content creators is to not be boring. The more people interact with your content, a higher volume of people will see it.