Facebook’s Slapping Its Own Face Badly With News Feed Algorithm

By | December 20, 2013

Cost is everywhere. It needs expensive talents to lead through the free channels - Hermes Ma

Instead of making its ads more valuable, Facebook is giving the marketers a reason of why they should stop investing their marketing PPC budget on Facebook.

Since a few months ago, Facebook started to tweak its life blood, the News Feed. And in last a couple of weeks, Facebook social marketers witnessed their post reaches falling like a parachute. The purpose is to make a great harmony ecosystem as Google does with its AdWords which makes the searcher, advertiser and publisher(Google) all happy.

It is supposed to be like this: Fans enjoy the quality contents from the brands the love; Brands get free exposure to fans and rewarded for the engagement; Facebook enjoy the advertising revenue from losers in the jungle and celebrate the satisfaction from their users.

In the real world, is this ideal ecosystem coming to Facebook? Perhaps.

We know the information disruption brought us the change that it’s the age of information finding us instead of we finding information. We shall be grateful because by default Facebook has sorted the information(Top Stories) for us by an algorithm. Let’s see the algorithm of how Facebook rank our feeds. I call it Facebook (News Feed) Quality Score:

Facebook algorithm on NewsFeed

Facebook algorithm on News Feed

  • The User(U) affinity is the number factor in this equation. Boy, if you like Playboy and not liking it (because your mom, your wife or your colleagues can see that), perhaps soon you will see fewer bunnies!
  • The Weight(W) of engagement is another factor to measure if your buddies like this post. Boy, if your buddies stop liking Playboy posts as you do, perhaps soon you will see fewer bunnies!!
  • The Decay(D) of time is the third factor. Boy, somehow we saved those naughty bunnies for you. New bunnies are in the queue.

How about the brands? They are acquiring Page Fans all the time. It’s everybody’s metric in their KPI (except those smart ones’). The most valuable assets of your brand. They, the brands, are a bunch of lovely social marketers who take it for granted that if a fan likes our Page, he/she is subscribing our news feed. But it’s not. With a hundreds thousand fan base, your post reaches can be less than a hundred. How dreadful! Are you paying the shinny social media guy a fortune for this?! Maybe you should put your money in Facebook’s pocket and fire the shinny social media guy. You will see a nice rising curve of fan base growth. Oh, wait! Haven’t you realized fan base is NOT audience? Wake up! Don’t market your brand but posts. Fire the shinny guy and boost posts with his salary. It’s more worth-it.

And Facebook? Fewer brands advertise on Facebook for fan acquisition. Fewer brands boost their posts. Why? Because most brands’ posts are there just for brand awareness and fan acquisition. People are on Facebook to entertain themselves (at least 70% of them are). So social marketers feed them with entertainments. Now ask yourself a question – Have you been paid to listen to a song or a joke? Why would you expect brands to pay for entertaining their fans and other users? Brands will pay eventually, but only for branding. It’s a vicious circle indeed. It’s turning the Facebook platform into a outbound marketing channel like radio and TV where we see no small fish in the sea.

Now who’s happy? Nobody, perhaps. Do you still want to dig the money from the marketer’s pocket? Your face is swelling.

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