The Facebook Feed algorithm: How it works in 2021
Facebook is constantly changing its feed to try and bring users more of what they’re interested in, and while we’ll never know all of Facebook’s secrets, some recent insights give us a fairly good sense of how the platform operates in 2021.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
One thing that’s true for every social platform is that they’re constantly changing and improving their feed algorithm. This is to ensure that you see more of what you want in your news feed, and less of what doesn’t interest you. You have to hand it to Facebook in that they’ve always been fairly transparent in describing the big picture of how their feed algorithm works. You’ll never get the total insight to the algorithm since that’s a well-kept secret, but this new video from [the] company explains how it’s done in 2021.
The Algorithm Big Picture
What you see in your news feed and what I or anyone else sees is a totally different experience. It all revolves around a news feed ranking that determines exactly what the platform thinks you’ll want to see. How that happens is broken down into 4 categories.
- Inventory – This is all the posts that you could potentially see. The posts are from people or pages that you follow, groups you’re involved with, or posts from those people that others have engaged with in.
- Signals – This is related to all the pages and people that you’ve actively engaged with. The algorithm notes whether it’s a photo, video, or a link post, and how much of each of these that you’ve interacted with. What that means is that if you’ve watch mostly videos in the past, the algorithm will feed you more of the same.
- Predictions – This is were the secret sauce comes in. Based on your previous engagement, the algorithm will look at the new posts in the inventory and predict what it thinks you’ll like.
- Score – After making its predictions, the algorithm then scores them and feeds you its top choices that will appear at the top of your Facebook news feed.
There are other factors involved here as well. Facebook allows each user to select the top 30 people and pages that it wants to see the most (Favorites), and that will be considered by the algorithm as well. Likewise, if you indicate that certain types of posts are no longer relevant to you (under the 3 dots at the top of a post), it makes a note not to show you the same type of posts again.
You might wonder why all of this is important, but if you’re an artist who wants your posts to be seen by more people, the whole key here is to provide the people that follow you more of what they want. Engagement, engagement and more engagement leads to more post views since that’s what the feed algorithm keys on.