Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is tweaked constantly to ensure a better experience for users (and a more profitable experience for advertisers). The company announced the latest major change today, as stories shared automatically from third parties will receive a lower ranking in News Feed.
Facebook found that when a user posts content to News Feed through a third party or an app, that generally gets more activity than a post automatically generated via a third party. For instance, the News Feed post generated by automatically listening to a Spotify playlist or artist will move down in the algorithm, while an album or song manually shared via Spotify to Facebook will receive a better ranking.
According to Facebook’s Peter Yang, many times, automatically generated posts from a third party were marked as spam. Additionally, the users didn’t like how stories were being shared implicitly.
What does this mean for app developers and marketers? Facebook explained in a Newsroom post.
We’ve found that stories people choose to explicitly share from third party apps are typically more interesting and get more engagement in News Feed than stories shared from third party apps without explicit action. We’ve also heard that people often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared without taking an explicit action. In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed over implicitly shared stories.
This means people will see fewer implicit stories from third party apps in the future. However, people will continue to see interesting and relevant content from third party apps that their friends have explicitly chosen to share.
Yang recommends that app developers change their sharing settings:
In general, we’ve found that people engage more with stories that are shared explicitly rather than implicitly, and often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared implicitly or automatically. Over the past year, the number of implicitly shared stories in News Feed has naturally declined. This decline is correlated with how often people mark app posts as spam, which dropped by 75% over the same period. In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed and Ticker over implicitly shared stories.
Yang pointed developers toward tactics such as explicitly marking Open Graph actions within an app, allowing users to send content to someone via a Facebook message and driving traffic via the desktop to mobile option.
Readers: How do you feel about this change?