We spend a lot of time on Facebook – approximately 40 minutes per day – and that time can now influence how stories appear on your News Feed. A recent update to the algorithm will take into consideration the amount of time users spend on posts, and thus how it appears on the page. As such, we’re going to be spending this post talking about the changes coming to Facebook, and how you can plan accordingly…
Facebook’s News Feed is something we’ve talked about before. In a previous iteration, stories that appeared were largely influenced by how many ‘likes’ and comments it gets, how often it gets shared, and overall, how much engagement it creates. Those who got plenty of the aforementioned criteria saw their posts pop up more frequently.
But according to software engineers Ansha Yu and Sami Tas, users don’t necessarily like, comment, or share every single post that they enjoy or feel are important. This is what the new update will reflect.
Here’s an explanation Facebook gave in a recent blog post:
“For example, you may scroll quickly through your News Feed and like a photo of your friend’s graduation, followed by sharing a funny post from your sister. You keep scrolling and happen upon a post your cousin shared detailing everything she did and saw on her recent trip. Her post even includes a photo. You spend time reading her post and the interesting discussion about the best places to eat that had broken out in the comments on this post, but you don’t feel inclined to like or comment on it yourself. Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.”
What does this mean? For starters, it brings new meaning to the “time is money” philosophy. It’s another metric for Facebook to try to cater the experience to your interests. Measuring “engaged time” means that you’re not only out there, but that you’re paying attention. For advertisers, this is what they’re after. For someone to not only engage (for better or worse), but to at least know that their ad is being seen.
This could be an interesting time as we try to figure out the News Feed (or until there’s another update), but remember, your time is valuable, and it may truly be money.
Cohen, David. “Facebook News Feed Algorithm to Factor In Time Spent on Stories.” SocialTimes. http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/news-feed-algorithm-time-spent/621740 June 12, 2015
Greenberg, Julia. “Forget the Click? Online, Time May Be More Meaningful.” Wired. http://www.wired.com/2015/06/forget-click-online-time-may-meaningful/ June 16, 2015
Yu, Ansha; Tas, Sami. “News Feed FYI: Taking Into Account Time Spent on Stories.” Facebook Newsroom. http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/06/news-feed-fyi-taking-into-account-time-spent-on-stories/ June 12, 2015