Facebook Starts Showing Fewer Text Status Updates From Pages, More From Friends

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Facebook has just announced a slight tweak to the Newsfeed algorithm. The newest version of the Newsfeed will show fewer text-based status updates from Pages, but will serve more text-based status updates from users.

The good news for Pages administrators is that Facebook will probably be distributing more status updates from Pages that are media- or link-based, as opposed to text-based.

According to a blog post, Facebook learned through testing that, the more simple, text-only status updates people see, the more they share. In fact, the initial test resulted in an average of 9 million more status updates written every day.

However, a text-only status update from Pages didn’t yield the same result as text status updates from regular users. Knowing this, Facebook has decided to pull back on text updates from Pages.

So what should Page administrators do to make up for the traffic?

Aside from the obvious switch to more media- and link-based content sharing, Facebook recommends using the link share tool rather than embedding a link in the text of the update, as it provides a more rich media experience for the consumer.

Last month, Facebook made changes to the feed that showed more links, likely an attempt to battle other news discovery tools. Of course, rumors suggest that tweaking the newsfeed is just a battle in the war on news discovery apps, as the social network is planning to launch a Flipboard-like newspaper competitor in the near future.

Here’s a copy of the announcement:

The goal of every update to News Feed is to show people the most interesting stories at the top of their feed and display them in the best way possible. We regularly run tests to work out how to make the experience better. Through testing, we have found that when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves. In fact, in our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends it led to on average 9 million more status updates written each day. Because of this, we showed people more text status updates in their News Feed.

Over time, we noticed that this effect wasn’t true for text status updates from Pages. As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.

Many Page owners often ask what kind of content they should post. This is difficult to answer, as it depends on who your audience is and what they want to see.

Still, one thing we’ve observed is that when some Pages share links on Facebook, they do so by embedding the link in the status update, like the one below:

The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share, so it looks like the one below. We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds.