Understanding Facebook algorithm with Boost Social

By Managing Director of Boost Social
Elisha Fiorentino


The Facebook algorithm gets blamed for a lot of things!

If a post only gets one like and no one comments, the algorithm did it! If your Facebook advertising is a flop, it’s the algorithm’s fault! The algorithm on Facebook and even Google’s algorithm cop a lot of blame. In fact, they’re probably responsible for world famine and climate change as well. Jokes aside, who even understands how the Facebook algorithm works? Not many of us, so at Boost Social, we thought we’d do some digging and here’s what we’ve come to understand.

How does the Facebook algorithm work?

In the most basic sense, the algorithm is a formula that uses a series of steps to solve a problem. No one explains it better than the new head of Instagram and the former Vice President of the Product Management, Adam Mosseri. At a Facebook summit, Mosseri put the Facebook algorithm into terms even your nana would understand, comparing it to dining out and then predicting what his wife Monica would want to order. He gave an easy-to-understand analogy.

How Facebook is like ordering food at a restaurant?

The Facebook algorithm is broken down into four bite-sized steps.
1. Looks at the menu. What’s is available?

2. Processes all the options available (the time of day – breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, what his wife likes to eat and what the restaurant’s specialty is)

3. Based on step 2, decides whether she’d like to skip the mains and go straight for dessert and should one also order wine or beer?
4 The waitress approaches and the order is placed.

The above is an example of how an algorithm works and the calculations to serve up Facebook’s content on your newsfeed are the same.

Step 1 – What content is available? This is known as the inventory.
Step 2 – What time of the day is it? This is called a signal.
Step 3 – Predicts what you’d like to see based on what you’ve looked at previously and your interests. You guessed it! This is a prediction!
Step 4 – The order arrives. This is known as the score!

How does the Facebook algorithm work on the Facebook newsfeed?

Step 1: Inventory
Facebook looks at all the content available – the people you interact with the most, what your family and friends have posted to their page and stories and what type of posts you’ve interacted with before.

Step 2: Signals
Is it almost lunchtime? Is it during the middle of the night? How are you accessing Facebook? Is it by desktop or phone? If it’s a phone, is it an Android or Apple? How much bandwidth do you have? Facebook asks a lot of questions and then it rates the content accordingly based on who has posted what. Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but at its most basic level, it has a whole range of signals or triggers to help decide what you see.

Step 3: Predictions
Facebook uses the signal to predict the likelihood of you enjoying the content if it were to show up in your newsfeed. Is it something you normally would share or watch or comment on?

Step 4: Score – take a look at your newsfeed. This is what Facebook predicts you want to see.

How does the Facebook algorithm affect your small business?

SIn a nutshell, Facebook is saturated with content, so it means the content you do create has to be meaningful, interesting, entertaining or educational and most of all relevant.

Don’t simply post for the sake of posting! The worst thing you can do is post to Facebook simply because you haven’t posted for the day. Make sure you have something your target audience will love, that they won’t be able to resist interacting with. The more your audience interacts using comments and sharing, the more Facebook likes your posts and the more likely they are to show up in other people’s newsfeeds.

Now that you understand a little more about how the Facebook algorithm works, what changes will you be making to your content?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]