Summary: Facebook recently made a major shift to its News Feed, allowing users transparency into why they are seeing particular posts in their organic newsfeed, along with minor updates to transparency around their ad targeting. In addition, and importantly, Facebook are positioning this change as a means for users to “influence” their own News Feed, and what shows up… so marketers need to pay attention to this.

Why Am I Seeing This Post? Facebook Makes a Major Change to its News Feed

Thanks to Facebook’s desire to appear more transparent, Facebook users now have an additional tool in the platform to understand how content is prioritised in their News Feed. For more on the release, take a look at the below video:

As Facebook state in the video, “The ranking of most News Feed posts is impacted by three signals: who you interact with, the media type, and popularity. While these are known signals, the ability to now see how this impacts your News Feed on a per-post basis now allows marketers to do some serious testing into how they might optimise their own posts for News Feed performance.

From the official post:

Helping You Understand and Control the Posts You See
The goal of News Feed is to show people the posts that are most relevant to them. “Why am I seeing this post?”, which can be found in the drop down menu in the right hand corner of a post, explains how your past interactions impact the ranking of posts in your News Feed. Specifically, you’ll be able to see:

  • Why you’re seeing a certain post in your News Feed — for example, if the post is from a friend you made, a Group you joined, or a Page you followed.
  • What information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts, including: (a) how often you interact with posts from people, Pages or Groups; (b) how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links; and (c) the popularity of the posts shared by the people, Pages and Groups you follow.
  • Shortcuts to controls, such as See First, Unfollow, News Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts, to help you personalize your News Feed.

During our research on “Why am I seeing this post?”, people told us that transparency into News Feed algorithms wasn’t enough without corresponding controls. People wanted to be able to take action, so we’ve made it easy to manage what you see in News Feed right from this feature.

Updates to “Why Am I Seeing This Ad?”

In addition to the updates on organic News Feed prioritisation, Facebook have also made an update to the “Why am I seeing this ad?” functionality:

We’re also making updates to “Why am I seeing this ad?”. Since we launched this feature more than four years ago, you’ve been able to see how factors like basic demographic details, interests and website visits contribute to the ads in your News Feed. Now we’ll include additional details about the ads you see when information on an advertiser’s list matches your Facebook profile.

Businesses can reach their customers by uploading information they already have, such as emails or phone numbers. We then try to match the ad to the most relevant audience without revealing any identifiable information back to the business. “Why am I seeing this ad?” will now provide details such as when the advertiser uploaded the information or if the advertiser worked with another marketing partner to run the ad.


Tips for Marketers

  • As part of Facebook’s drive to provide better transparency for  users, they’re giving away more insights for ‘users’ – that us marketers can use
  • You can understand why you’re setting certain posts in your organic feed (by virtue of you liking pages, being friends with people, liking their posts etc) to influence your own News Feed better and better position organic content in groups and pages
  • Use the additional data to dissect ads from competitors or accounts you want to understand better, by seeing how they targeted you.
  • This is on top of Facebook allowing you to search for ads using their library tool and viewing all running ads at a Page level
  • Start your own collection of “Swipe Files”. I’ll personally be using this in a dedicated Slack channel that I can share with team members, that we can use for inspiration.

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