Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek

360° Coverage Facebook's Algorithm Change Not A Boon For All Publishers

Trending

Filed under: News

 

Facebook's Algorithm Change Not A Boon For All Publishers

Dec 23 2013, 6:36am CST | by

Facebook's Algorithm Change Not A Boon For All Publishers

Photo Credit: Forbes
 
 

In early December Facebook confirmed a change had been made to their News Feed. In the post announcing the change, Facebook cited an earlier entry from October that average referral traffic from the social network to media sites utilizing best practices increased by over 170% in the past year. We found that referral traffic from Facebook to our site, Hitched (a website about married life), had increased just 11%. With the latest algorithm change, however, I fear the number is about to plummet, even as our number of fans has increased and our website traffic, in general, has significantly grown.

Facebook declined an interview request for this column, but did point me to several posts and other interviews to help answer my questions and concerns.

The first thing I have noticed with the new algorithm release is that whenever we post anything with a link, the reach is nearly non-existent—links now reach only about 2-5% of our fans. Back in the summer, the reach of our posts with links were around 25%—taking the link out could boost the reach another 10%. When we post today without a link it grabs just another 5%, on average. Moreover, when we shared “The top 10 things we learned about marriage this year” from another high quality content provider, Time magazine, it reached less than 2% of our fans.

Facebook has indicated these changes are to highlight more high quality content from publishers, which is extremely admirable and appreciated. With the countless Ph.D.s, best-selling authors, regular talk show guests, practicing marital therapists, and other leading experts who contribute regularly to Hitched, I assumed this change would help our traffic. Instead, I fear we have been demoted.

Peter Kafka of AllThingsD recently interviewed Facebook’s News Feed Manager, Lars Backstrom, about the new algorithm change and asked, “Are you paying attention to the source of the content? Or is it solely the type of content?” Backstrom replied, “Right now, it’s mostly oriented around the source…” Kafka pressed the issue, “So something that comes from publisher X, you might consider high quality, and if it comes from publisher Y, it’s low quality?” Backstrom answered, “Yes.”

Back in August Facebook offered insight into how they calculate high quality content. They said the system uses over 1,000 different factors to determine quality, such as: Is the content from a source you would trust (since they “liked” the page I would hope so), would you complain about seeing the post in your feed, and is the post low quality or a meme?

Now, part of the recommended practices is sharing the posts that people would want to share with friends. Without knowing how much each factor is weighed when determining reach, it could be the lack of our share-ability that is having a major effect on our visibility. After all, if a person is “friends” with their mother-in-law I doubt they’ll want to share our story “5 Ways to Protect Your Marriage From Toxic In-Laws;” or I doubt many people want to announce to all of their friends that they “like” an article about getting the spark back in their marriage—not that there’s anything wrong with that… it’s admirable in fact.

Virality, in general, could be a terrible indicator of quality content. A recent story in the New York Times highlights how the virality of a story and the truth are often not connected at all. They highlight story after story that turned out to be false, but was widely shared as fact. The publishers reaped the traffic regardless of the story’s veracity. As I mentioned, though, sharing is just one of 1,000 factors. Facebook has indicated that what people see is unique and individual to their own habits. So if a person engages with a lot of photos, they’ll see more photos in their News Feed. Conversely, if you’re not a big engager with photos, you’ll see less of them.

Of course this could cause another problem of creating a feedback loop—only seeing what you already agree with or like. So if, for example, you had followed the Facebook pages of Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama because you wanted to see what each was saying, but only “liked” the posts of one person, it seems the other would slowly disappear from your feed.

This highlights a major hiccup in using Facebook as either an aggregator of news or distributor. Much of a journalists job is to not always give the reader what they want to know, but what they need to know. As Facebook continues to fine tune their algorithm to give people what they want, it’s clear from the drop in our fan reach that we’ll need to focus not so much on what we think is important, but what we think people will “like.”

Source: Forbes

You Might Also Like

Updates

Shopping Deals

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Tinder App Review
Tinder App Review
Tinder is a great mobile app for those who love making new friends. It's a fun way to make interesting people your friends. Just log in, swipe right to like or left to pass, and if the person likes you back, “It's a Match” for you. Making friends is a lot fun now if you are on Tinder.
 
 
SketchBook Pro App Review
SketchBook Pro App Review
Sketchbook Pro, as the name suggests, is a professional-grade design and illustration app. The app is appraised to be one of the best mobile apps for design, sketching, painting and illustration. This app is predominantly used by on-the-go artists, designers and illustrators. This app is also used by teens who are interested in arts and by children to practice drawing and painting in a way that is much more interactive than regular painting book activities. So on the whole, SketchBook Pro is a very productive mobile application that targets a heterogeneous audience.
 
 
Trolls vs Vikings Game Review
Trolls vs Vikings Game Review
The Trolls and Zombie has become a very popular game recently as nearly half a million people have downloaded this game since its launch. People of all ages love to play this game as it has got something for everybody.
 
 
Bounden Game Review
Bounden Game Review
The Bounden is a fantastic game app which features different styles of dances in a very unique way. It is an app which is one of its kinds and people wouldn’t have experienced anything like this before. It has a good following and the app always had an increased curve of popularity since it was launched.
 
 
 

About the Geek Mind

The “geek mind” is concerned with more than just the latest iPhone rumors, or which company will win the gaming console wars. I4U is concerned with more than just the latest photo shoot or other celebrity gossip.

The “geek mind” is concerned with life, in all its different forms and facets. The geek mind wants to know about societal and financial issues, both abroad and at home. If a Fortune 500 decides to raise their minimum wage, or any high priority news, the geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants to know the top teams in the National Football League, or who’s likely to win the NBA Finals this coming year. The geek mind wants to know who the hottest new models are, or whether the newest blockbuster movie is worth seeing. The geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants—needs—knowledge.

Read more about The Geek Mind.