Facebook has once again updated its News Feed algorithm, this time in an effort to highlight more “high quality content” like news articles and current events. These updates also seem to have a special focus on the mobile News Feed, which says something about the way members are consuming your content.
People enjoy using Facebook to share, connect, and stay current on the latest news. Over the past year, more people have found news on the social network than ever before. In fact, average referral traffic from Facebook to media sites has increased by 170 percent — almost tripled.
With this in mind, the company is now paying closer attention to what makes for high quality content, and how often articles are clicked on from News Feed on mobile. This means that moving forward members might start to notice links to articles a little more often, especially on mobile.
“Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme,” stated Facebook. “Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile.”
For brands, this means that high quality articles you or your fans share might show up more prominently in News Feeds, whereas meme photos might show up a bit less. Earlier studies have shown that visual updates have received more engagement, but now that attention seems to be switching to articles. Facebook has made photos accompanying these articles more prominent, so it’s worth putting effort in to selecting a captivating in-article image.
In addition to increasing the prominence of news articles, you might have noticed a recent test that looked at ways of showing additional articles similar to one you had just read. Soon, Facebook will display up to three related articles directly below the News Feed post to help readers discover more content. This is great for publishers and media sites using the platform to drive more on-site traffic.
And finally, Facebook announced that it’s updating bumping to highlight stories with new comments. Testing has shown that doing this in moderation can lead to more conversations between people and their friends on all types of content. With this update, Facebook will “occasionally” resurface stories that have new comments, so people might see more stories returning to their feeds.
Although these changes apply to both the desktop and mobile News Feed, Facebook says you should see a bigger increase in articles showing up on smartphones and tablets. As a result, businesses could see sudden drops or spikes in traffic and engagement. Keep the updates in mind as you approach or revise your content strategy.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.