Digital Insights

Highlights from Facebook’s New Algorithm: What it Means for You


Published: October 29, 2013

Facebook’s new algorithm has a lot of people wondering how to navigate their favorite social media site. While many changes have been rolled out, there are a lot of new features that are simpler to use, are more efficient, or allow you to customize what you want to see. Knowing the basics of Facebook’s algorithm can help you understand what’s going on and how to enjoy Facebook’s new layout.

Story Bumping
One of the new features of Facebook’s algorithm is Story Bumping. In fact, Story Bumping itself is a type of algorithm, which has a completely different way of ranking stories. In the past, EdgeRank was used, which translated into the most recent or “freshest” story or update appearing at the top. The last algorithm often resulted in people missing stories because they weren’t online when the update occurred. Story Bumping takes into consideration everything that a specific user has seen and populates only what is new to that given user, so you can be sure not to miss any of the stories that are newest to you, even if they happened 18 hours ago.

Last Actor
Another feature of Facebook’s algorithm is something called the “last actor”. This is a way in which Facebook takes your 50 most recent interactions and decides what to show you based on that. While this doesn’t necessarily help marketers just yet, as it only applies to organic content, another algorithm feature does help marketers.

Remarketing (or retargeting) is a tactic used by many advertisers, and Facebook has embraced it relatively recently, as well. If you’ve noticed, the Facebook ads that appear alongside your messages or posts usually have a lot to do with where you’ve just been online; this is no coincidence. Remarketing is a tactic in which the tracking cookies that are dropped when someone visits a particular website but doesn’t complete a purchase are used by an advertising platform (enter Facebook) to remarket that product. In other words, if you visit a website where you shopped for jewelry, your online footprint is there in the form of what is called a cookie, or a tracker. Facebook’s algorithm can read that cookie, and it knows that you’ve just recently searched for jewelry, so it will show you jewelry ads. The aim for marketers is to remind you of what you were looking for so you’ll buy it from them.

Picture This
Images are now wider and more visible, which is great for viewers, but can sometimes be a problem if the person uploading the picture isn’t aware of the changes. If you want to post pictures that will be as beautiful on Facebook as they are on your phone or camera screen, keep these upload sizes in mind:

Online – 400 x 209 pixels
Mobile – 560 x 292 pixels
Sidebar – 100 x 72 pixels

Many other improvements have been made, as well, such as improved page insights, which give you a more accurate picture of the activity on your page; the ability to edit posts that you’ve already published; being able to auto-play videos in your news feed, which is a feature that isn’t as widely known, and several others. But if you’re still a fan of the old Facebook, you can change your settings on most aspects of your Facebook experience to display as it once did. However, as users noted with the “timeline” layout, sometimes embracing change is necessary on Facebook.


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