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Facebook News Feed Ranking Factors | The complete Guide

[Estimated read time: 7 minutes]

Facebook is filtering news feeds, WHY?

Every time someone visits Facebook there are around 1500 news feed on average (per day) and most users don’t have time to see them all. Also, every page on Facebook wants to show their posts to all active users.
These reasons are forcing Facebook to play a role of “bad guy”, especially for social marketers. The filtering algorithms are now more advanced that aims to deliver most relevant post with some ads.
Furthermore, Facebook has the right to filter your stories. It’s specified in terms and condition that we rarely notice while signing up.

How many stories Facebook filters out?

It totally depends on the algorithms used by the Facebook to show most relevant contents. However, on average, 1500 stories boils down to 300 according to the priorities.

What are the factors that decide Most Relevant Feeds?

Facebook uses thousands of high personalized factors when determining what’s shown. We are listing few main factors that decide whether your post shows up or not.

The Simplified Equation

Facebook News Feed Ranking Factor - The simplified equation RIP BUTT

The crucial factors that determine post score

Likes, Comments and Shares

The major importance is given to the total number of likes, comments and shares on the post. The total number is proportional to the visibility impact.

Post Type

Is it a photo, video or status update? If the user interacts more with images (based on past activities), then the priority will be given to tagged/shared photos.
Source: Facebook

Trending Topic

Trending News

Posts that reference a trending topic usually receive higher visibility score. If your friend or the page you liked, posts something that is related to the hot conversation on Facebook, that post generally gets the top position of the news feed.
Source: fb newsroom

Recency

The algorithms also take care of how recently the story was published.

Timing

The aim is to present the right content at the right time. So the timing of when your friend shares/likes/comments on a specific post is also taken into account.
Source: fb newsroom

User Interaction

How user has interacted with the creator of the post plus the type of the post (in the past) matters. Here interaction score is based on recent chat history, tagged photos, number of comments on same posts and your activity on previously shared content by the creator.
Source: Facebook

Unique Post

How different is the post? Is it already appeared on Facebook earlier? The fresh content is given higher priority.
Source: fb newsroom

Best Buddies Post

The content created by the user whom you interact with the most is likely to appear on top of the news feed.
Source: Facebook

Text-only Updates

Facebook treats text-only update from friend and text-only update from page as two different categories. The status of friend gets higher priority.
Source: fb newsroom

Uploaded Video

The views and viewing duration of uploaded video impact visibility. That means along with likes, shares and comments, Facebook also considers whether someone has watched the video and for how long they watched it.
This algorithm is not applicable to YouTube, Vimeo or videos shared from other websites.
Source: fb newsroom

Click-bait Post

Click bait post

Post with click-bait headlines can reduce visibility. How Facebook determines what looks like click-bait?

  • How long users spend reading an article away from Facebook. For example, if a person spends around 1 minute on clicked link, that means the content is valuable.
  • The ratio of people clicking on content compared to people liking or sharing it. If thousands of people click on the link but relatively few people like, comment or share when they return, then the content can be considered as low quality.
    Source: fb newsroom

Overly Promotional Page Posts (will begin in January 2015)

Promotional Page Posts

Pages with too much promotional content get lower (or zero) visibility in the news feed. According to the Facebook, over promoting is

  • Forcing people to buy products or install apps.
  • Pushing people to enter promotions & sweepstakes with no real context.
  • Stories that reuse the exact same content from advertisements.
    Source: fb newsroom

Tag other pages

tag other pages

Tagging other pages within a post may increase visibility. When a page tags another page, the post gets visible to some people who followed or liked the tagged page.
Source: fb newsroom

Shared Links

Links shared in the standard link format (with a large image, headline and text) gets higher visibility as compared to links buried in photo captions. Moreover, the standard link format automatically shows some additional information associated with links, which help users to decide whether they want to click on it or not.
Source: fb newsroom

Like bait post

Like baiting posts

Posts explicitly begging for share, comment or like are considered as low quality. They usually get higher engagement, but according to the Facebook survey they are diluting the quality of news feed.
Source: fb newsroom

Related Articles

After clicking on an article, you may see up to three related articles below the post. This is to help you discover more contents you may find interesting.
Source: fb newsroom

The Story You Missed

The Story You Missed

The stories that people didn’t scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of the news feed if it is still getting likes and comments.
Source: fb newsroom

Spammy Links

Posts with spammy links are less visible. Facebook detects spammy links by measuring how frequently people who visit a link choose to like, share or comment on the post.
Source: fb newsroom

Hidden or Reported Post

Frequently hidden or reported post is a sign of low quality. The visibility of the page will decrease if it contains too many hidden or reported posts.

Page Profile

How complete the page profile is. For greater visibility, try to fill each information box asked/provided by Facebook.

Friends Activity

Posts that are liked, shared or commented on by friends usually get near the top position in the news feed. This also includes the stories related to public groups, even if you are not a member of the group. Moreover, the position of these kinds of stories depends on how you interact with those friends.
Source: Facebook

The History of Post Creator

If your previous published posts get more like, comments or shares, then there are high chances that your next post will be shown to a large audience.

Mutual Page Fans

The pages where the fan base overlaps with the fan base of other page are considered as high quality and valuable pages. For example, there are many mutual fans/followers of Ferrari and Lamborghini (official web page).

Passive Fans (Lower Fan Engagement)

Passive Fans see bundled posts

You might have liked hundreds of pages but in news feed there is no enough space for all. Therefore, passive fans of any particular page may see the page’s posts bundled together in the news feed.
On the other hand, if you get them sharing, liking or commenting on your post, they will see more of your future stories.

Low Quality Meme Content

Facebook uses artificial intelligence to recognize meme content. Meme content signals include Visual analysis of overlaid text on image and negative feedback categorized as “meme content”.
Source: fb newsroom

Type of Device

Mobile news feed and desktop news feed algorithms are quite different. At present, mobile users are less likely to see video posts on their smartphone.

Organic Page Reach

Facebook page Organic Reach Per Fan

The total number of pages liked by audience grew over 50% last year. That means more and more people are now engaging with public pages, which is good news for social marketers. But in the last couple of years Facebook made it very hard to reach a bigger audience. You can see actual statistics in the table.

It shows that according to the latest algorithms having millions of likes is not enough to get higher visibility. In fact, you don’t deserve more audience if your current followers are not interacting with your posts.

What you need to do to increase your page/post visibility

  • Prefer images and links rather than text only updates
  • Update topics related to trending conversations
  • Tag other popular pages within your post
  • Come up with interesting content regularly
  • To get large audience visibility, avoid adult contents because they often get reported
  • Upload short, interesting and informative video so that people don’t skip while watching
  • No doubt, engagement is the most important factor. So try to get more likes, comments & shares on each post to increase overall page visibility

Do NOT:

  • Include words such as “like” “share” “comment” or “click” within the post
  • Post same content again and again
  • Bury links in Photo caption
  • Include spammy links
  • Post Meme content
  • Force user to install apps or click on your link
  • Beg for like comment or share by putting keywords on image

Bottom Line

Facebook uses around 100k weight criteria and we’ve shown combination of only a few crucial ranking factors. Facebook is now tweaking its old news feed algorithm almost every quarter of the year and the new ranking signals are introduced every month. The aim is to keep user entertain by providing most relevant and valuable content they actually want to see. At present, their first priority is user and they are trying to protect the quality of news feed because the long term success depends on it.