Study finds engagement levels on Facebook have recovered since 2018 algorithm change

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This article reports that following the algorithm announcement Facebook made back in January 2018, Newswhip just looked at how engagement levels on the platform have recovered since the change. If you don't remember the announcement, it caused quite a stir:

"One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent. We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness. But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. It's easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do -- help us connect with each other.

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. So we've studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities. The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative -- may not be as good. Based on this, we're making a major change to how we build Facebook. I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions. We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience. Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too. At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together -- whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world -- we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent."

A year down the line, new data from NewsWhip says engagement may have rebounded significantly. The company analyzed engagement with around 27 million web articles in an effort to discover which topics and formats performed best.

Engagement with web content on Facebook saw an overall increase of 54%.

Back when it announced the algorithm change, Facebook said live videos received 6X the engagement as prerecorded ones. Yet, the NewsWhip study discovered live videos comprised the lowest percentage of top-performing post content formats. In fact, photos dominated the top 10,000 posts.

Photos accounted for nearly half of the top 10,000 Facebook posts of the year, with native video following close behind.

When it came to the average number of engagements per post content type, native (not live) video outperformed photo posts

For average number of shares according to post type, native video dominated and outperformed photos, live videos, and links.

Live video topped the list when it came to comments average, which could be explained by the viral nature of topics - like breaking news.

It might surprise some readers that photos were the dominant content category with regard to the top 10,000 posts. However, they fell right to the bottom of the list for average comments.
#2018 #algorithm #change #engagement #facebook #finds #levels #recovered #study
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  • Profile picture of the author Medon
    I have been active on fecabook and Ii never noticed that the engagement nose dived. Even though, it is good to hear the news.
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  • I did find their algorithm change confusing back then. Like the actual engagement we were seeing doesn't match the numbers. Good that they fixed this though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Scott Jr
    I believe around 2018 they were also going through alot of privacy scandals in addition to this. Alot of people closed their accounts. Many reopened them eventually. That may have caused an impact also with overall engagement.
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