Once upon a time one-line statuses on Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) did turn heads, but times are changing fast! A new report on Adweek says that the length of a post on Facebook makes a lot of difference to its outreach. The lengthier the post, preferably more than 20 words, the more its priority and outreach.
The text words in a post usually constitute the meta title of your link in the post, the page description and the accompanied intro or comment.
On the other hand, organic posts on Facebook and reach do not involve any ‘boosted’ content. The total number of people an organic post reaches out to is termed as the organic reach.
The measure of a post’s popularity is by the percentage of its highest reach, as per the graph below. It is the percentage of the total reach of a particular post for a particular publisher divided by the highest reach of that same publisher.
Influence Facebook Organic Reach
The findings from the analysis, as depicted in the graph, show the relation of the number of text words in the post against its highest reach. Between 5 to 20 words, the post has a limited reach between 0.35%and 0.45%. But beyond 20 words, the reach is higher than 0.45%. The ratio, after 20 words, remains constant. Thus, publishers need to experiment with the number of words they use in their organic posts to expand their reach. They can use more than 20 text words in their posts and see the difference.
Aren’t posts supposed to be shorter to attract people?
Traditionally, people believed that online publishing needs to use shorter content to get more people to visit their sites and to generate traffic. But in the past few years, publishers have realised that long-form content is the way to go.
The research by serpIQ in 2012 was the turning point for long form content. After conducting a study over 20,000 keywords, it was found that the average length of the top results was more than 2,000 words. Google even hints that long-form content provides better SEO, according to its algorithms.
Does Facebook mention this factor in its algorithms?
No, it doesn’t. Till now, it wasn’t clear whether the amount of text in a post could influence its organic reach. There was never any clear correlation between the post text and its reach. Additionally, Facebook’s News Feed made changes in its algorithm in June. This was to provide relevant posts to users. But there was no mention of post length being a factor.
News Feed is Facebook’s Backbone:
The News Feed of Facebook allows you to prioritise the posts as per your preferences. According to Facebook, your Feed is ‘influenced by your connections and your activity on Facebook.’
How does it work?
According to Adweek, your News Feed prioritises your posts based on:
- who posts it
- the type of the post, whether a simple status, photo, video or link
- the post activity, and post activities based on likes, comments and shares.
How important is the News Feed’s algorithm?
For a user, it’s very important that he/she has access to the right content on the site. If not, the user will move on to better sites. If the user avoids the site, ads don’t show up in his/her Feed. Therefore, Facebook’s News Feed plays a pivotal role in generating revenue for the company.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook reach has seen a decline as more and more publishers join the site and share content for consumers. The limited space has caused the viewership to decline and it isn’t Facebook’s fault! But Facebook has to update the algorithms if it wants people to stick to the site.
Is that why there so many updates?
Yes, the News Feed algorithm gets constant updates from Facebook. Understanding this algorithm will only help businesses understand what content to use and how to reach more News Feeds.
Facebook provides constant modifications to its algorithm to ensure that people get the relevant content they want to see on their site. At the same time, it also ensures that businesses have access to the right audience to uplift their marketing. For a better reach of the content, it is important to understand each of the updates. The simple reason is, each update has a relevant impact on your Page.
Updates to News Feed Algorithm 2016:
Facebook spoke about a Feed Quality Panel that constantly surveys people to rate the content that engages them. Therefore, Facebook will only push on top the stories that people are likely to rate as ‘high’ and are likely to engage with.
Facebook introduced reactions to posts where people could react ‘haha’, ‘angry’ or ‘loved it’ to any post. This would help in understanding what the users genuinely like.
In December 2015, Facebook introduced Live Videos. Then in March, Facebook considered these videos a separate content type, distinguishing it from normal videos. The update ensured that Facebook Live Videos appeared on the Feed as and when they are live.
After another survey from the Feed Quality Program, Facebook found that the time spent on reading text content or watching vide content from links is important. People spend time on an Instant Article or an article in the Facebook browser. So they added an update that allowed them to understand the time you spend on links away from News Feed.
Facebook provided an update that allowed people to see more updates from friends and families than posts from pages. The posts your friends spend time on are also showed to you.
This update promised to reduce the clickbait stories from people’s Feeds. Clickbait headlines are those that leave out some crucial element in the story. They cause curiosity in people towards a specific article or link, and on opening the page, they’re disappointed.
This update was done to provide more personalised content to each user. First of all, every article is ranked as informative or not. Then the articles are compared to see which one is relevant for which user Based on this finding, each user is shown articles they would consider as informative.
When a user logs in, a server constantly sends posts to the Feed, based on user’s preferences. Any posts not yet seen by the user are put in a persistent cache. When the user goes offline or has a slow connection, only these stories are shown in the same order. The new architecture, however, ensures that new stories are selected from the server and considered along with the unseen ones. After that, the appropriate stories are inserted in your Feed.