When I meet people after speaking at conferences and training events, I never cease to be amazed at how little people know about how Facebook decides what to show them in their news feed.
I guess most people go on Facebook out of curiosity, habit and to catch up with what friends are up to, and they are not really that fussed what's going on in the background. After all, the algorithm is so good and always seems to serve up just the right mixture of content, why question it!
In short, those cat videos keep coming because you click on them or linger on them or because they've been shared by someone you like on the site. And that in essence is how it works - but please read this excellent post for a brilliant summary of how it works and why you see what you do.
For business people, it's really important that they have an understanding of how Facebook's news feed works, because you then realise that you can 'train' Facebook to show you more of what is actually of interest and of use to you in your news feed. When you do this, Facebook becomes less of a glorified photo album and more of a search engine and lead generation tool.
At the end of the day, Facebook is a service provider - and by making the content you see as relevant as possible to you, it massively increases the likelihood that you will keep coming back for more. And that's what keeps both Facebook and the advertisers happy.
We should all learn from Facebook - personalisation in your service proposition is critical.
So how does Facebook’s algorithm choose what appears in what order? It 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 four main factors that decide a story’s personalized relevancy score, and therefore its visibility to that user.