Facebook Algorithm


“Meaningful Interactions”

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced in 2018 that the Facebook algorithm will prioritize “meaningful interactions” from friends and family over brand content. Remember, you joined The Hashtag Agent to take the guesswork out of social media. Making the algorithm work for you is imperative to a successful Facebook strategy.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Module Outline and Objectives:

Three factors impacting video ranking

  • What are “Meaningful Interactions”?

  • Top ranking factors for the Facebook algorithm

  • How the algorithm affects your brand

  • Tips to increase your organic reach

  • Tips to increase organic reach on Facebook

Three Factors Impacting Video Ranking

Updates: May 6, 2019: Facebook Project Management Director, David Miller, announces major updates to video rankings.

Above all, Facebook wants to help people discover great videos and build relationships with the creators and publishers that matter to them. That would be you, and this is why video across all of your four pillars of content are invaluable.

Note: These changes are being rolled out over the next few months.

  1. Loyalty and Intent

    • Intent and repeat viewership are important factors we consider when surfacing videos to people in News Feed. Going forward, Facebook will add more weight in ranking to videos that people seek out and return to week after week.

      • Action Item: Do you have a weekly show? Podcast? Market Update? Create a weekly show people seek out each week that airs on the same day and time. We recommend a community video series.

  2. Originality

    • Unoriginal or repurposed content from other sources without added value are demoted, as well as video content from business Pages that are involved in sharing schemes. Added restrictions and limited distribution was added for this type of content.

      • Side Note: Have you ever created a great listing video and wanted everyone to see it so you shared it to your Timeline, your Groups, Friend’s and Family Timelines, and then to 28310343 more pages? If yes, don’t ever do that again.

  3. Video and Viewing Duration

    • The goal is to capture viewer’s attention for at least one minute, according to Facebook. Now, more weight is added to videos that keep people engaged on videos at least three minutes.

      • Word of Advice: Just like our CEO, Jonathan Hawkins, does on his Facebook, keep people engaged on the platform they are already on. He uploads his entire podcasts directly into Facebook as well as adding them to other platforms and his blog. It is okay to post snippets leading to your website, but always come back and post that content natively in Facebook to boost viewing durations, like this:

How the Facebook Algorithm Works

“Less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” - Mark Zuckerberg

Don’t Panic, Facebook also announced in an official release how brands (you) can reach your past, current and future clients on Facebook.

What are “Meaningful Interactions”?

Facebook no longer cares how much time users spend on its platform, as long as that time is “quality” time.

Facebook is measuring quality by defining certain actions as more “meaningful” than others.

The new algorithm prioritizes active interactions like commenting and sharing over likes and click-throughs (passive interactions)—the idea being that actions requiring more effort on the part of the user are of higher quality and thus more meaningful.

Action Item: Rather than passively scrolling through yours News Feed and occasionally pausing to “like” a photo or an article, Facebook wants users to be inspired to engage in conversations with each other, so engage with people so they too will see your content.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Top Ranking Factors for the Facebook Algorithm

Directly from Facebook, these 5 factors are “Priority” when it comes to algorithm rankings.


Create quality content focused on sparking conversations between users (meaning the conversation could be you and someone else or someone else and another user). Include questions in your posts, or writing about timely, relevant topics that users are sure to have an opinion on.

Hover your mouse over the “Like” button to reveal other ways to react.

Hover your mouse over the “Like” button to reveal other ways to react.

2. Reactions

If a user takes the time to hit the “love” icon vs. the “like” icon, your content will receive a minor boost in the News Feed. The same goes for all Facebook’s reactions: Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. Facebook wants to see those “active” emotions.

3. Comment replies

The algorithm not only favors comments, but also replies. Publish content that inspires users to tag their friends in comments and start a conversation as well.

4. Sharing links over Messenger to a group of friends

If a user shares a piece of content to their wall, that’s great. But what’s even better is if they take the time to send it to a friend (or a group of friends) over Facebook messenger.

5. Engagement on shares

Simply getting shares is not enough. Your post must be shared and get engagement on that share to be prioritized in the algorithm.

Other Facebook News Feed ranking signals

The following ranking signals are less important, according to Facebook, but still worth noting:

  • Average time spent on content. 

  • When it’s posted. 

  • Story type. 

  • Completeness of page profile. 

    • The more fields you fill out on your Facebook business page, the better. This is so that Facebook and potential followers can get a clear idea of who you are and the legitimacy of your business.

  • How informative the post is. 

8 tips to increase organic reach on Facebook

1. Focus on video—especially live video

“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” -Mark Zuckerberg

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Hit “Live” and go.

2. Avoid engagement bait

Yes, we’ve all done this. It might be tempting to try and hack the algorithm by asking your audience to “COMMENT on this post if you are looking to buy or sell a house!!” or something similar. But don’t be that brand. It’s spammy, users don’t like it and Facebook will try and “hide” your post.

See below for some even more specific examples of engagement bait.

Source: Facebook

3. Focus on community building through Facebook groups

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“In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events.” -Adam Mosseri

Businesses (you) should look into engaging through Groups, linking it to your Page, to support your organic and advertising efforts

Action Item/ Tip: Create a community page called (Your City) Community. Before you even venture into community interviews, tours, etc. just share local events and news happening in your community. These can all be found on Facebook and can be shared directly into your Group. You could even embed your group onto your website, emails, etc. just like this so people can join them easily.

4. Create quality content that resonates with your audience

This is the single most important piece of advice in this list. Everything about “meaningful interactions” boils down to creating quality content that people actually want to see. And how do you know what people want to see? Asking your audience, researching what your audience is searching for, running tests, and checking your analytics.

5. Invest in your ads budget

Now that Facebook is diminishing content from brands and publishers, these skills are more important than ever. Businesses must know how to target the right audiences to ensure their advertising dollars go further. No, you don’t have to be a Facebook ads expert, you just need to be able to get your content to your audience.

6. Connect with Facebook influencers

Facebook has noted that it will show more posts from “publishers the community finds trustworthy.”

Tip: Share a local photographer’s photo/video (with credit) and ask questions. This is a free and huge way to increase engagement.

But make sure the content still follows all the guidelines in this list. Just because an influencer is posting it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be well-researched, valuable, or “meaningful.” It still has to spark conversation.

7. Localize (shift priority to local news)

Narrowing in on a geographical area helps boost your content organically. Promote an event in your specific city, or publish stories that affect your specific region.

8. Encourage customers to follow your Page

You can generate a button like this to embed on your website, emails, etc. here.

One thing not changing about the Facebook news feed is the ability for users to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages by choosing “See First” in their news feed preferences.

Don’t be shy about asking customers to follow your page on Facebook. They could even remind loyal followers about the “See First” option.

Knowledge Check:

  1. What of the following is not a “Priority” factor when it comes to algorithm rankings?

    A: Sharing Links over Messenger

    B: Engagement on Shares

    C: Comment Replies

    D: What time it’s posted

  2. What length is recommended to increase engagement on video content?

    A: 1 Minute

    B: 30 Seconds

    C: 3 or more minutes

    D: 2-3 minutes

Sources: Facebook | Sprout Social | Hootsuite

Check on Knowledge Answers: 1:D 2:C 3:

Downloads: Facebook Algorithm Worksheet | Facebook Algorithm Slides

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