Remember when Facebook decided it was all about the images, and started prioritizing posts that had large images over posts that didn’t? The change was supposed to enhance the user experience, but apparently, size wasn’t what Facebook users were looking for.
Facebook has recently announced that it’s changing its ranking algorithms once more. This time, it’s the amount of time a user spends engaged with a given piece of content that matters. The longer you spend looking at a post, the more Facebook figures you like it – so expect to see more content of that type popping up in your newsfeed. (And if ever you needed a reason to stop looking at images of your ex’s current sweetheart, this would be it!)
Here’s how it will work, according to two of Facebook’s developers:
For example, you may scroll quickly through your News Feed and like a photo of your friend’s graduation, followed by sharing a funny post from your sister. You keep scrolling and happen upon a post your cousin shared detailing everything she did and saw on her recent trip. Her post even includes a photo. You spend time reading her post and the interesting discussion about the best places to eat that had broken out in the comments on this post, but you don’t feel inclined to like or comment on it yourself. Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.
Facebook is apparently also able to discern whether a user is actively engaged with a post, rather than simply having Facebook open in a tab on their desktop.
What does this mean for the business owner on Facebook? First and foremost, an emphasis on creating quality content Facebook users will want to spend time with should be a top priority. Don’t limit yourself to text-based posts; other types of content, including videos and image slide-shows, can take quite a bit of time to consume. Lengthier content takes longer to produce, but that’s okay: recent reports show that sharing fewer posts that enjoy greater levels of engagement enhances reach more than posting more posts that are quickly scrolled past – something to keep in mind as you craft your social media marketing materials for the next few months!