Facebook is on a constant crusade to update its ranking algorithm for the News Feed for the better, with updates coming in December 2013 and again early this year, as Facebook pushed for more high quality content, including a focus on news from media outlets.
The goal of Facebook’s News Feed is to show the right content to the right people at the right time. Comments almost triple on posts that are highlighted. And behaviour on Facebook Mobile clearly indicates that people are clicking on links, using their News Feed as a source of interest and content curation. Facebook is using this input to change the look of News Feed to better cater to what users want, based on what they’re already doing. It’s not innovation so much as a feedback loop of modification and refinement.
In order to ensure they’re pushing more relevant articles in your News Feed, Facebook have updated bumping to highlight stories with new comments. You may start to notice links to articles a little more often – particularly on mobile – and previously viewed stories returning to your feed with new comments highlighted. It’s all part of the plan to take a quality-over-quantity approach and ensure your content is highly engaging.
The latest News Feed Update we’re most interested in includes a new feature called Page tagging.
When an individual profile tags another in an update, that update appears in the News Feed of the tagged profile’s friends. The same is now true for Pages. This means a page’s updates will potentially be seen by the fans of any page tagged in it, regardless of whether they are fans of the page doing the tagging.
This feature looks like it could be ripe for spamming, but if used strategically, it could also make for some great marketing and cross over engagement.
Another new feature you may have noticed is Facebook Trending. If you look to the right of your News Feed, you’ll see a list of topics that have recently spiked in popularity. The list is personalised, including topics based on things you’re interested in and what is trending across Facebook overall.
We’ve already mentioned Facebook’s new news IOS application Paper in a previous post, but it’s worth mentioning the project’s radical departure from the Facebook newsfeed by prioritising visuals such as featured panoramic views and automated video, and focusing heavily on mobile users, who make up 48 percent of the network’s daily active users and nearly 50 percent of its ad revenue.
In the words of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg:
“I think there is a special place in the world for this sort of personalised newspaper…”.
This all leads us to believe that Facebook is focusing a lot of time and energy on ensuring that users only receive content they want to engage with and these constant News Feed updates together with the new Paper App all point in the same direction.
Now to see what they decide to do with WhatsApp…