Understanding Facebook Ad Algorithm Changes

By Tim Burd - January 31, 2018 8405 Views
By Tim Burd - January 31, 2018 8406 Views

If you do any Facebook marketing, an important thing to understand is the facebook ad algorithm. Every time you open up Facebook, a long list of signals spring into action and curate a very hard to understand and sometimes misunderstood the facebook ad algorithm. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to keep up with all the ins-and-outs due to constant changes on Facebook’s behalf.

What ends up showing up on a user’s News Feed is made up of many moving parts, sometimes hundreds or could be thousands (depending on how many friends, pages and groups you follow). The facebook ad algorithm determines these moving parts, that then decides the posts we see from friends, families, and businesses.

We want to help you understand how your Facebook posts get viewed on Facebook. So we’re collecting all the relevant Facebook algorithm factors, updates, and changes and placing them here in this post for easy reference.

Adam Mosseri (VP, News Feed at Facebook) recently broke down the four steps Facebook uses to rank your content in the news feed.

Those steps are:

  • Inventory (What’s on the menu?)
  • Signals (Is it lunch or dinner time?)
  • Predictions (Would she enjoy the salmon?)
  • Score (Place an order.)


Facebook’s ad algorithm quickly takes an inventory by looking at all of the stories posted by your friends and the pages you follow, as soon as Facebook Newsfeed is opened.


All available data is then considered, and Facebook tries to make an informed choice on what may interest the user. Facebook calls this data “Signals.” The number of signals can really be overwhelming to understand. It is Facebook’s job to rank this content, this can be based on the time of day, the users’ device, who posted what… and the list goes on and on. (Currently, Facebook has given users the opportunity to slightly sway the signals. We all know about the unfollow button, or the opportunity to view certain users’ posts less frequently, without having to totally unfriend them.)


Like most marketers, Facebook is trying to understand and basically trying to guess what the user will do before they do it. For example, how likely will the user comment, share or like the stories we pick for that user’s algorithm. At the end of the day, Facebook is all about engagement. If Facebook can rank the signals using the users’ history and make predictions, Facebook sees this as a win-win for everyone.


Just like you would guess, Facebook pulls together these predictions and calculates the probabilities, and consolidates this information into a “relevance score.” This calculated number represents how interested Facebook thinks you may be in a certain story, post or group. Adam stressed that like most marketers, Facebook doesn’t know for a fact how interested users will be in certain content on the News Feed, its all an educated guess.

Understanding the facebook ad algorithm starts with knowing the core values that Facebook uses to guide their algorithms. These values are: Friends and Family come first, a platform where all ideas can be shared, authentic communication (monitored clickbait), Controlled experience (such as “unfollow” and “see first”)  and Constant Feedback from users.

Relevant Changes to Facebook News Feed Algorithm:

If this is your first time digging into facebook ad algorithms, or if you are here brushing up on past skills, take the time to view our list below. This breaks down all of the relevant changes that Facebook has made to the facebook ad algorithm. The break down of relevant changes is not only educational but shows a retrospective view at every step Facebook has taken on this journey.

(Last updated: December 2017)
Here’s a summary of all the changes that are relevant to social media marketers, in reverse-chronological order.

If you want to know more about any particular change, just click on the quick link and you’ll get more information about the change and how it may affect your Page.

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