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Demystifying the News Feed Algorithm for Facebook and Twitter

Every social media marketer needs to learn and understand the News Feed algorithm for both Facebook and Twitter to be able to shine on social media. These changes will affect your engagements among your friends, fans, and followers. Knowing how these algorithms work will give you a competitive advantage and will help you drastically improve your marketing activity.

In this article, we’ll give you the important information you need to know about the News Feed algorithms for the most important social networks of the moment: Facebook and Twitter.

As an active social media user, you may have hundreds or even thousands of online connections. Social media platforms come up with ways to make your experience as convenient as possible. They wouldn’t want you to feel overwhelmed with updates from all your connections.

Algorithms are inevitable. These help filter content from various connections to make sense to the user. In Facebook, this is the reason why you see more updates from certain friends, and less from some.

News Feeds and their algorithms are keys to a good social media experience. An algorithm-based feed was utilized by Facebook in 2006. Twitter followed suit in 2015.

These algorithms vary from one platform to another. They are also dynamic, subject to changes every now and then. Social media marketers have to be on top of things to cope with the changes. These changes are major factors in terms of their social media strategies. We will be demystifying the News Feed algorithm for Facebook and Twitter, respectively.

Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm

facebook algorithm

Behind the Changes

Facebook Software Engineer Moshe Blank and Research Scientist Jie Xu wrote about the latest change in Facebook’s News Feed. For several months, they have conducted a Feed Quality Program. They asked thousands of users to rate their daily experience. Along with this is informing the admin on improvements which can be implemented when checking Facebook.

They found out that engagements- clicking, liking, commenting or sharing posts- do not necessarily reflect the interests of the users. Facebook has made several updates to that over time. There are factors that they now consider in customizing your newsfeed based on their dynamic findings.

They stated that they would also be updating the content shown on your News Feed from the same source. This is based on their findings that people like to read articles from various publishers. This reduces repetitiveness in general.

A Facebook user’s experience is centered on the like button for years since it was introduced in 2007. This has assisted Facebook engineers on gathering data from their users. The addition of the reaction buttons has made the algorithm more complicated. Aside from that, there are other factors that influence Facebook’s algorithm process as well.

Time Allotment on a Post

time allotment

They have set an algorithm to measure a user spends on viewing an article. Viewing is defined here as reading and watching the content after it has loaded. This could be measured in the Facebook mobile browser or an Instant Article in the News Feed. Facebook will then feature more stories on your timeline based on your perceived interests.

Garner higher percentages of the market share by posting content consistent with your brand. Come up with interesting, informative, and entertaining content which benefit your audience. Present different angles of topics you want to emphasize.

Video Engagement

video engagement

Users who were watching videos did not necessarily liked, commented, or shared it with their friends. This is according to a survey conducted by Facebook in the summer of 2015. They had to look at other engagement measures for videos to figure out interests of their users.

They programmed their system to track audio adjustments, switches to full-screen mode, and enabling of the high definition feature. Turning up the volume, and adjusting visual factors will be interpreted by the algorithm for your News Feed customization. Those who are engaged with video-related content will experience the enhancement of their video content offerings.

As a marketer, make sure that your videos are of the best audio and visual quality. Check that the format and specifications of your video will allow fast loading for your viewers’ convenience. This is also to ensure that errors are limited, or better yet avoided, as your video gets engagements over time.

Relevancy Score


The Relevancy Score is defined as the prediction quantified to a single number specifically to you and to the post which is predicted for you to engage with. The sorting algorithm of Facebook ranks the posts that could potentially appear in your news feed from the highest to the lowest score. This applies to ads as well, so Facebook can feature those ads which matter most to the user.

Businesses who pay for the ads benefit from this. Ad relevancy scores are computed based on both positive and negative ad feedback. Read more about relevance scores for ads here.

When a user interacts with your brand, whether in a positive or negative manner, address them promptly and in a respectful manner. Build on the trust of your audience by delivering quality customer service. As you are seen as a concerned brand to your fans, you are maintaining their interest in engaging with you.

Friends Prioritization

friends prioritization

Facebook gave priority via higher relevancy scores to posts made by the user’s friends over followed pages and promotional posts in April 2015. In July of the same year, they introduced the See First feature. This lets you decide which accounts you want to appear first on your News Feed.

As a social media marketer, you can actively encourage your audience to make you a priority on their feed. Present to them the incentives they will get while doing this. You could say that they will be able to see the latest updates on your products or services, be among the first to know breaking news about your business and even a head start in your contests and other promotions.

Twitter’s Timeline Algorithm

twitter algorithm

Demystifying the News Feed algorithm in Twitter is perhaps easier. Mike Jahr, Senior Engineering Manager of Twitter, has introduced the new timeline feature in the social media site. As with administrators of Facebook, they have realized necessary updates they need to apply in terms of user updates. Users are now given the option to view the best Tweets first. This is quite similar to the Seen First option on Facebook.

This also aids the users to catch up with the best Tweets of those they follow. What was once sequenced in purely chronological order now considers those which are of interest to the respective user.

Show Me the Best Tweets First Feature

show me the best tweets first

This was introduced in February 2016, sharing similarities with the Facebook’s News Feed. It actively modifies content on your timeline based on relevancy. The algorithm of Twitter places those which are calculated of interest to you on top of your timeline. This is still in recent and reverse chronological order.

The best Tweets are selected based on the accounts you have the most interactions with, and Tweets with the most engagement, among others. The other Tweets appear below in reverse chronological order as well. There is no limit to the number of best Tweets. An average is about a dozen.

The best Tweets can be eliminated by simply refreshing the timeline. You can also make this a permanent setting in your timeline as well. This is what differs it from the Facebook’s News Feed.

Social media marketers must always make their Twitter posts as engaging as it can possibly be. Utilize quality pictures, significant hashtags, and even quotes relevant to your brand. Also, ensure that your links are working properly to get more people to be interested in your brand even outside Twitter. Build quality content to make you interesting enough for your followers.

While You Were Away Feature

while you were away

Twitter helped their users stay in the know, ridding of their fear of missing out (FOMO), by introducing this feature back in 2015. This gives the user a recap of the bet Tweets they may not have seen. Since the Tweets are in reversed chronological order, there might be Tweets that the user might be interested in, but have not seen because it has already moved down by more recent posts.

Tweets that reach this feature are determined by the user engagement. Though specifics of this are not available, it is assumed that the algorithm has measured content in the Tweets that the specific user may be interested in. There is not an option to turn this on or off. However, the frequency of this feature depends on your overall engagement on the site.

According to Twitter Product Manager Paul Rosania, recaps appear more frequently in timelines of users who seldom use Twitter. This feature mainly helps the user be updated with the ones they follow despite their absence upon the posting of the Tweet.

This is a great advantage for marketers as your followers can still learn about you even when they are away for a while. Given this information, compose your Tweets with a sense of thrill and intrigue. This makes your Tweets more interesting, and will help you garner more interactions with your follower in the future.

Wrapping it up

Learning the features and understanding its relevance to you are the keys to demystifying the News Feed algorithm for Facebook and Twitter. Changes are constant, and changes in social media come as fast as they go. It is important not to be overwhelmed with these but to have an open mind to learn about it one step at a time.


Content Marketing Maven. Events Management Specialist. All Around Go-fer. Loves to travel. Loves the beach

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