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So, what does the Facebook algorithm do?

So, what does the Facebook algorithm do?
Summary: What does the Facebook algorithm do, and how does this affect my business.

We all realise that Facebook switches up what you see in your newsfeed, but have you realized by how much?

The impact of the Facebook algorithm is that the average reach for an organic post is 5.2% (down from 7.7% in 2018). Put simply, if you have 1,000 connections on Facebook, on average, 52 of those people will see your post, and of them, only 2 are typically likely to engage.

Also, don’t forget that Facebook now owns Instagram, so similar rules apply there.

A short history of the Facebook algorithm

2004 – Facebook was born

2006 – Newsfeed added

2007 – Like button added

2009 – Newsfeed sorting introduced, taking the most liked posts to the top of a feed

2015 – Down ranking introduced for pages who post a high volume of overly promotional content

2015 – “See first” introduced, allowing users to select pages they see first

2016 – Time spent on page ranking signal introduced & Live video prioritized

2017 – Emotional reactions – Loves and Angry faces start to weight higher than Likes

2018 – Prioritization of posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions

2019 – Focus on high quality original video, especially video watched for over 3 mins

2019 – Closeness of relationship introduced as a factor – identified through direct messaging and tagging in photographs

2020 – In response to personal data concerns, features to explain why you have been shown an Ad and to hide Ads from a given page introduced

2020 – In response to fake news, news articles are assessed for credibility and quality

2021 – You can no longer “like” a page, you can just follow – much less confusing!


So what how does Facebook decide what you see today?

Here’s the technical answer from Facebook :


And in layman’s terms :

Facebook uses thousands of ranking signals to determine what you see. These can be summarized broadly like this :

Facebook Algorithm in laymans terms


Wow! So am I wasting my time posting on Facebook for business?

Not at all! But having a Facebook page and not updating it, or not engaging with your clients will get you nowhere fast.

Here are some things that you can do to improve your visibility :

  1. Engagement is at the heart of what Facebook is looking for from you to rank your posts highly. If a client sends you a post, send a reply, @mention their name and try & make the reply more than 4 words so that it feels like an interaction rather than an end to the conversation. Also, check out who you are following – if you never comment it’s time to unfollow them.
  2. Givers gain – share and comment on content from people or groups who you feel are likely to be interested in your business – they often comment or share back!
  3. A love is better than a like! Analyse your posts to see which ones got more effusive reactions than a simple “like” – recycle them, re-interpret them or use them as the basis for your next post designs.
  4. Check when your customers are active on facebook – a newsfeed is ranked based on recency – if you post whilst your audience is asleep, chances are your post will be way down their newsfeed by the time they wake up – there are automated tools available which can help you to schedule your posts.
  5. Try Facebook Stories – they don’t go through the algorithm yet. Facebook say that 58% of people who have read a story go on to visit a brand’s website.
  6. Use video when people are scrolling, a video disrupts the train of thought, which is why they are so powerful at getting clicks and engagements. The latest trend is live video streaming – not for the faint hearted, but effective.
  7. Ask to be a favourite (but only with clients where you mean it) Every user can nominate 30 pages who skip the algorithm
  8. Be nice. Enough said.

Want help with your Social Media? Contact us for a chat about what you’re looking for.


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