How to think about the FB Algorithm and start winning

You will probably have noticed, like most marketers, that it’s become much harder to make any headway organically on Facebook.  


Want to know a scary fact? On average, only between 2-4% of your followers will see a post. So if you have 10,000 followers only 400 people will have the chance to see your content.


All that effort and perhaps not that much to show for it. Frustrating!


This is primarily down to Facebook’s algorithm which has become razor focused on engagement and relevance. It’s time to face up to it. The days where you could own Facebook with some good organic content are over. It used to be that some cat pictures and a gif from a 1990’s sitcom would give you lots of traction… those days are gone Bud.


In order to get the traction you want, and perhaps once enjoyed, you will more than likely have to put some money on the table. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a huge amount. You just need to know where and how to invest it.


While doing that you also need to be very focused on making sure you play to the algorithm bias. Here are a few things to keep in mind to try and win back some traction.





How does the song go? Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. That’s what you need to do on Facebook – in bucket fulls.  If you get negative feedback your content is going to crash and burn.  Chances of it being seen are hugely reduced. As a guide, it takes about 100 likes to balance our negative feedback.


So what is negative feedback?  Well the good news is that it’s not an angry or sad emoji.  Negative feedback is not how someone feels about the messages in your content but about any action they take to stop seeing it. In other words a negative reaction is if someone chooses to hide post, hide all posts, report as Spam or unlike your page.


The algorithm is designed to pummel content that gets negative feedback. Think about this before provoking a strong negative sentiment in an individual could cost you dearly.



Interaction Powers Reach


Size does matter.  Or at least the size of your following has a real impact on your reach. That’s pretty obvious. To grow your following takes hard work and great content but you need to focus on this first and foremost to encourage an engaged following.


Facebook’s algorithm will usually push content to friends and to people who follow your page. Or some of them. The actual likelihood that someone will see your post in their newsfeed is a reflection your ongoing engagement with that individual. An engagement vs a broadcast mentality with your network is all important.


A concomitant point to this is the length of your post.  Similar to how Google now looks at a searcher’s engagement with content served from search queries to understand relevance and quality, Facebook tends to favour longer posts. The longer the article the more chance that someone will spend a little more time consuming it. This can be “perceived” by the Facebook algorithm as increased engagement with your content.


Liking, sharing, commenting. These are hard fought in the noise of Facebook. None are to be turned down, but they are certainly not equal.  “Likers” are very different than “followers” so paid and organic activity to encourage likes will only get you so far. You need quality engagement. Shares are the most powerful followed by comments and then likes in a ratio of around 13:6:1.


The other measure of engagement is clicks and watches. How many clicks on a post are leading users to your website? How much time are individuals spending watching your video – hint you need to aiming for a minimum of 15 seconds.  



Engagement is King


Similarly, with your ads, interaction is strongly liked to your relevancy score. This is especially important for ads where you are looking for engagement and performance of a specific action i.e. think CPC not CPM to increase relevancy

  1. A/B test your creative e.g. use human face, logo, funny vs serious imagery. The higher engagement an action the higher the relevancy
  2. Be specific with targeting – narrow the audience, use custom or lookalike audiences
  3. Call to Action – work on improving it to get higher engagement levels
  4. Use video – why are you not doing this yet?


Hopefully, this has been a helpful round up of where your mind should be focusing to regain some traction on Facebook.

Got a project in mind?