How Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Algorithms Work

Content for the Funnel Top: what are the ideal formats and how to produce them
[Tutorial full] How to make an infographic in 5 simple steps

Five billion, five hundred million and sixty million: these are the total of new posts a day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram respectively.

Them are information of various subjects and, therefore, require that each network create ways to segment and prioritize the most relevant content for each user.

After all, even choosing to connect with, everyone is susceptible to daily receive hundreds of interactions for each action of your contacts, which would make our experiences in networks at least stressful.

The solution for them was the same: create a news feed from algorithms based on the interests and user interactions .

Because they have different objectives, the algorithms of each of these networks is different and, of course, are in constant development.

But what is good for you is challenging for marketers: Now, we must always be alert to changes to optimize strategies for attracting your target audience.

The purpose of this post is to bring the main features of each of these algorithms, in order to collaborate with the understanding of what does and what does not make sense from the point of view of attraction by each social network .

The Facebook news feed algorithm

In Brazil, Facebook has about 90 million users who spend on average 20 minutes per visit on the social network. By day, this means that they are exposed to about 1,500 publications, but only see 100 in their news feeds.

But why does this happen?

In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook , said the main focus of the network is to become a “personalized newspaper for each person.”

So, Facebook is constantly learning about the behavior of their users, seeking to empower them to get the definition of what actions define whether a content is or is not interesting. The goal is to keep visitors longer on the social network, interacting with the largest possible number of publications.

The button to enjoy, implemented in 2007 – three years after the launch of the social network – was the first significant change in the targeted algorithm to map the level of relevance of content to users.

The strategy developed until, in 2016, reactions were launched, other buttons that are intended to go beyond the adoption of a publication: seek to measure the engagement it generates, receiving positive and negative feedbacks.

In short, any reaction in a publication of Facebook is understood by the algorithm as a tanned for causing engagement.

Facebook reactions

Although it seems very simple, actually  the Facebook algorithm contains more than 100,000 variables that if combined, hack user behavior and interaction with the content available on the social network.

Two of the aspects that guide this analysis are:

1. Publication of Origin

In 2015, after concluding that its users are very concerned with the possibility of lost updates from your closest friends among the news feed of information, the Facebook algorithm started to  permit the choice of which pages or people they would like to see the first updates.

Before that there were only filters for what people did not see, with the option to hide publications and unfollow (unfollow). The relevance of the content and engagement with other users or pages were measured by likes, shares and comments. At this time, it was launched News Feed Preferences , to empower them in this choice.

Facebook's algorithm

2. Publication Relevance

Based on the interaction history, Facebook’s algorithm can predict when a publication will be tanned, clicked, commented or marked as spam.

The combination of variables creates the relevance score, which organizes the order in which the posts will appear for each user. The first to appear will be therefore the most able to generate engagement at that time. This calculation is always fed back to the positive and negative feedbacks.

The same logic is used with the Facebook Ads . If ads are expected to improve the user experience in the social network, the relevance score collaborates with identifying the target audience for companies that use this type of strategy.

You can read more about how the algorithm works with Facebook Ads on Relevance Score for ads .

The Timeline algorithm on Twitter

As with Facebook, Twitter users were also concerned about losing the most relevant updates of your closest contacts in the social network.

From this, the social network changed position and went on to give the option to the user to decide whether to view the information chronologically or by relevance to the  new algorithm . This was done with the development of two alternatives for defining the tweets that are shown in the timeline, “while you were away” and “best first tweets”.

The first option, “while you were away”, was established in 2015 and acts on users who access the social network a few times a day so they do not miss important updates in the accounts with which interact more.

This option appears right after the user logs in, and although there is not much information on how the relevance is measured, the concept of engagement with the type of content and tweet source account are quite significant.

The second possibility, implemented in 2016, is based on the calculation of the relevance of the content to users. In this case, the chronological order of publications is set aside, and the content is displayed according to the probability of generating engagement.

There is no maximum number of best publications, although the average no more than 12. The most important here is that, anyway, you agree that all the tweets from your timeline to be displayed in order of relevance.

Twitter algorithm

The feed algorithm Instagram

By the year 2014, Instagram had no algorithm that would monitor individual user activity for photo suggestion on your tab “explore”. Here the most popular publications were shown to all users, with no specific direction. In addition, the timeline showed publications in chronological order, without regard to their relevance.

However, to be acquired by Facebook, Instagram now has the same focus on improving the experience of its members , since it was estimated that they did not see 70% of the photos of your feeds on their visits to the social network.

From the new algorithm, the order of publications in Instagram feed was defined by the following factors:

  • Number of Likes and comments, to measure the engagement;
  • level of interaction with the user of the post source;
  • Publication schedule for the social network does not lose the chronological feature of the display;
  • For those users send direct messages and what type of content shared with these people.

It all comes down to good practice

Although the three social networks have responded in different ways to the need to create more complex algorithms for the development of the experience of its members in terms of Digital Marketing , these changes lead to the same conclusion: more and more the quality of content and advertising They will determine the range organic and paid within social networks.

Just as important to recognize the good marketing strategies to minimize the spread of content and low quality information is essential for retaining users in social networks. Algorithms are, after all, an incentive to good target audience segmentation practices and creating relevant campaigns and content, essential for ensuring good results with Digital Marketing.

Today in Brazil, more than 90 million people use a social network on a daily basis. So, use them as attraction and conversion channels is of utmost importance for any product or service.

Want more tips on how to use social networks to generate Leads? Take a look:

  • eBook Introduction to Marketing on Facebook
  • 7 reasons still worth using Twitter as a marketing tool
  • How to Generate Leads with Instagram: 6 basic steps for you to follow