We’ve heard questions from brands and businesses around how News Feed works; how to get distribution for Pages’ messages; and how Promoted Posts can reach more of their intended audiences.
Our goal in news feed is always to show someone the most relevant information from the things they are connected to on Facebook. We think about Page content similarly to how we think about content from friends: We want to show people the things that are most meaningful to them from their connections. A really good Page post, like a friend’s photo or status update, that gets a lot of engagement, has a better chance of being shown in news feed. In this way, we can keep news feed an engaging service where people come to get the information that is most interesting to them.
Below we try to offer even more clarity on how this all works.
How does news feed distribute my messages organically and with ads?
Facebook’s news feed makes the most of the time a person spends on Facebook by serving up information that is most meaningful to them. It ranks information from people, apps, and Pages based on what that person interacts with the most (i.e. the level of engagement certain posts get), and how frequently the person visits Facebook. That way, they see a customized “home page” that’s tailored to the things that are most relevant to them each time they log in – whether that be every few hours or every few weeks.
To address the fact that not everyone sees every single message from a friend or a Page, Facebook offers ads to businesses to help them increase the likelihood that people will see their message in their news feed when they log in. As a business, you may have a really great sale going on, or a new item in store that you want to promote far and wide, so that more people are aware of it. Tools like promoted posts are simple ways to turn those important Page posts into ads.
Is Facebook “gaming” news feed so I pay for more ads to extend my messages’ reach?
While we make changes to news feed occasionally, the fundamental way it works has not changed. We mentioned earlier that news feed works to serve up messages – organic and paid – that people are most likely to interact with. Level of engagement with a message or ad is an important signal as to whether the message should be shown in more people’s news feeds.
It’s important to note that we constantly monitor signals from people in news feed, not only when they engage with a story or ad, but also when they hide a person’s story or a Page’s ad that they might not want to see or report a story as spam. Taking these signals into account, from time to time we make adjustments to the ranking system of news feed to ensure that news feed stories continue to be as engaging as possible. We have done this in the past and will continue to make adjustments so that people see the most relevant stories to them, every time they log in.
This doesn’t change the fundamental goal of what Pages should optimize for and what news feed surfaces: engaging stories, organic and paid. Regardless of whether you’re paying to promote a story or just posting one to your Page, the news feed will always optimize for stories that generate high levels of user engagement and filter out ones that don’t. So in Page Insights you may see that the organic reach of not-so-engaging posts is lower. Posts that get good organic engagement, however, should continue to achieve healthy reach.
What this means for businesses is that monitoring what types of posts are getting good responses is key, and always has been. Use Page Insights to determine what types of content – videos, posts, questions, etc. – are getting good engagement versus what types aren’t. Take a look at our Page Publishing Guide for posting best practices, and make sure to use our Page post targeting features (more info below) so that you reach the audiences most likely to respond to your messages. And for posts that you see are getting a lot of responses, you can promote them to extend your reach to more news feeds.
How do I ensure that my ads get to my intended audience?
Campaigns for ads like promoted posts are set up so that they can receive the most engagement possible – liking, commenting, sharing, etc. This means that Pages can get some international responses, because the cost of showing an ad varies by country (and so some posts could get shown to people in places where the cost per engagement is lower).
The best way to address this is by refining the audience that is eligible to see your posts. This can be done by either targeting your Page post to specific locations and audiences – e.g. People in Chicago who are married (more info on how to do this here) – or by selecting “People who like your Page” under Audience options in promoted posts.
We are also exploring ways to make ad targeting capabilities more built into the ad creation process by default, so that when you promote a post the delivery takes into account the right audience more often.
We want to help businesses of all sizes not only get more of their messages to the right people, but also give them insight into what messages are engaging to people so they can create more of them. We think that if businesses can increase interactions with their customers, it’s a win-win situation.