Facebook Releases "New Guidelines" to Businesses and Marketers Better Understand How the News Feed Works
October 25, 2017
Following up on from this week’s panic about Facebook’s latest News Feed test - which sees them moving Page posts to a separate News Feed - The Social Network has released a new listing of News Feed Publisher Guidelines, which aim to help publishers better understand how the News Feed algorithm works.
The overview in the video pretty much mirrors what Facebook’s news Feed chief Adam Mosseri outlined in his presentation at their F8 conference earlier this year (down to the example of ordering a meal for his wife). Still, that insight is valuable – if you’re looking to get a better understanding of how the News Feed algorithm decides what each user sees, I’d highly recommend you check out Mosseri’s full, 20-minute ‘What’s New with News Feed’ presentation.
New Publisher Guidelines
But the video is only the precursor to the Publisher Guidelines – the notes included in the guidelines cover a range of important elements, including how the News Feed works, what Facebook audiences respond to best and a listing of important do’s and don’ts which can help improve your Facebook performance.
One of the more interesting recommendations – which Facebook also have listed in their journalist resources – is this:
“Post frequently. News Feed tries to show people the stories that will be the most meaningful to them. By posting high-quality content that doesn’t violate our guidelines and posting it frequently, you will increase the chance that our algorithms match your content to an audience that finds it meaningful. News Feed uses a variety of diversity rules to prevent people from seeing too many stories from a given publisher. That means you don’t need to worry about spamming your fans or followers provided that the content you post is new and high quality.”
Facebook's Advice Caveats
This advice goes against common Facebook wisdom – most social media advisers would suggest that posting less is more effective, as you want to avoid spamming your followers’ feeds. But as explained by Facebook, their algorithm has systems in place to account for over-sharing, and it’s likely that the majority of your traffic doesn’t come to your Page at all (they see your posts in their feeds), so they wouldn’t be aware of your posting frequency.
That’s not a free-for-all invitation, or suggestion, to post ten times an hour, but it definitely may be something worth experimenting with, particularly as Page reach drops to new lows (and may drop further if their latest test gets expanded).
But that being said, as noted by Facebook:
“Don't look for a silver bullet when posting to News Feed. Publishers succeed in many different ways and with vastly different posting strategies. There's no single right time to post, number of posts or type of post that will work across all publishers. It's about creating great content you think your audience will find interesting.”
It is my professional opinion that the above advice from Facebook is no different from any approach you should have already been taking. So the future is most definitely unclear and any Publisher of Facebook Content or Social Media Marketer needs to rely even more heavily on ongoing measuring, monitoring and maintenance in the face of these changes.