What does Facebook’s hybrid news feed mean for brand pages?

Results from a recent study by Edgerank shows that page impressions on Facebook have  been showing a decline.The study compares average Impressions per post per fan for Facebook pages in June 2011 and December 2011.

  • The average Page experienced a change of -50% (Impressions/Fans per Post).
  • The median change was -58%, showing that most Pages suffered a loss of approximately 50% over these two time periods.
  • This translated to the average Page actually losing 250 impressions per post (median value) despite the fact that these same Pages grew 53% over this same time period (median value) in terms of members.

The implementation of the new Hybrid News feed may be the reason behind this.

According to data from VA Simple Services, the average Facebook user has around 130 friends and is connected to approximately 80 community pages, groups and events. Most users would be overwhelmed to see all of the activity generated by these connections in their news feed.

To avoid this, Facebook use algorithm formula EdgeRank to decide what users will see in their news feed. This formula is based on 3 elements:

  • Affinity – How often a fan interacts with a page and posts
  • Weight – Activities that require a higher level of engagement from the fans get a higher score i.e. shares get a higher score than likes or comments
  • Time Decay – The more recent your post, the higher its score

There is increased competition within the news feed from both brands and users, and on an average, a post reaches only 16% of a page’s fans. Photos, checkins, and brand updates have been increasing in the past 6 months,and as the competition increases even more in the future, prime space in the news feed will become even more scarce. It will be up to brands to leverage EdgeRank to continue to receive their share of exposure.

Another interesting point raised from this study also indicates that the size of a page’s fan base now has much more of an impact on the engagement rate.

Pages that were larger, experienced an increase in engagement (comments + likes) since the implementation of the new hybrid news feed. However, Pages below 1,000 fans experienced a decrease in engagement.

While this is interesting, a high number of fans doesn’t necessarily mean a high rate of engagement on its own, as showed in this study by Simply Zesty.

What factors drive higher impressions? Does your page have any strategies to increase visibility and engagement? Share with us.