Facebook’s objective is to select the most relevant and engaging stories to show in the News Feed. It wants to choose the best content out of several thousand potential stories that could appear in your News Feed each day, and put those in the first few dozen slots that you’ll actually browse through.

Facebook prioritizes stories you’ll Like, comment on, share, click, and spend time reading, which we’ll refer to as “engagement”.

The more engaging the content, the more you’ll come back to Facebook, and the better it can accomplish its mission of connecting people while also earning revenue from ads shown in News Feed.

The decline of Reach

Over time as more people and Pages join Facebook and each shares more content, there’s more competition for the limited available space in the News Feed.

This causes a decline in the reach of what’s posted to the News Feed, in terms of the percentage of people who see a story out of everyone eligible to see it. This is why Facebook Pages see the percentage of their followers who see their content shrinking over time.

The best way for you to counteract this decline of reach for your own content is to learn what Facebook’s algorithm prefers.

The Main Factors Influencing What You See

Facebook assigns each story a personalized relevancy score that’s different for each person that sees it, and puts the most relevant stories first. The algorithm takes into account thousands of different signals but here are the main factors:

Who Posted It – The more you’ve interacted with a post’s author in the past, the more interested Facebook thinks you’ll be in their future posts. This interaction could be engagement such as Liking or commenting, but also clicking or slowing down to read their posts, visiting their Page or profile, tagging them or being tagged together in posts or photos, and many other actions on Facebook.

How Other People Engaged With The Post – The more that other people have engaged with a particular post, the more likely that Facebook will show it to you too.

What Type Of Post Is It – The more that you typically engage with a certain kind of post (status, link, photo, video, event, job change, content from another app), the more Facebook will show you posts of that type.

When It Was Posted – The more recently a story was posted, the more likely you are to see it.

How Many Others Have Posted the Same Thing – If a dozen friends have all posted the same news article or video, Facebook assumes it’s a big deal and displays the story higher up in the News Feed.

How Ads Get Inserted?

Facebook also injects ads into the News Feed. These don’t replace any naturally visible post but instead just get injected in between them, pushing down the ones that come after.

Facebook uses a similar but separate ranking algorithm to determine whether you’re likely to be interested in a Page or business’ ads. Facebook limits the number of ads you see, and therefore wants to maximize the likelihood that the ones it shows you will get you to click, since clicks earns it more money.

More details about how newsfeed works can be found here.

Tags: Advertising Facebook