In a blog post, Facebook says it has based the update on feedback from users who said there are some instances where posts from friends or pages are only relevant at a specific moment – such as when a football game is live. It also said there are times where a post is a day or two old that may not be relevant any more.
Facebook has taken those two factors into account and has tweaked the News Feed algorithm to show users stories about topics that are trending as soon as they occur, higher up the News Feed. Early testing of a small percentage of these posts has shown that this update on average leads to a more than 6 per cent increase in people engaging with those stories, Facebook says.
A second update has taken into account the rate at which people like or comment on posts. With this update, Facebook will begin to look not just at the total number of likes a post has received, but when people are liking, commenting and sharing.
Facebook will also take this signal into account when considering which stories it “bumps” up the News Feed, which is when it resurfaces popular stories that users may not have scrolled down to see the first time around.
The changes mean marketers should take into account the trending topics of the day – which can be accessed via the right-hand sidebar on the homepage – and consider when it is suitable for their brand to create related real-time content.
In July Facebook credited the 67 per cent year on year ad revenue increase in its second quarter to marketers beginning to treat the platform with the same creative way they do with TV.