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Facebook introduces ‘story bumping’ to make the old new again

Facebook has added a new tool to its algorithm to ensure users see News Feed posts that are relevant to them, even if they missed them first time around.

The new ‘story bumping’ tool will ensure stories that are getting lots of shares, likes and comments will appear above the fold next time you log in, if the site knows you didn’t scroll down far enough last time.

So, for example, if a friend has gotten engaged or is has landed a new job, you’ll now be less likely to miss the opportunity to send your own congratulations.

Perhaps more pertinently are the ramifications for Facebook’s partners, brands and publishers, who pay for their content to appear within news feeds. Previously the company has been unable to guarantee visibility. Now, with story bumping, it can.

On the company’s Facebook For Business blog, Lars Backstrom wrote: “Today we are announcing an update to the News Feed ranking algorithm. Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of News Feed if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.”

“Early data shows this improves the experience of News Feed: In a recent test with a small number of users, this change resulted in a 5% increase in the number of likes, comments and shares on the organic stories people saw from friends and an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on the organic stories they saw from Pages.

“Previously, people read 57% of the stories in their News Feeds, on average. They did not scroll far enough to see the other 43%. When the unread stories were resurfaced, the fraction of stories read increased to 70%.

“The data suggests that this update does a better job of showing people the stories they want to see, even if they missed them the first time. For Page owners, this means their most popular organic Page posts have a higher chance of being shown to more people, even if they’re more than a few hours old.”

Facebook says the average user’s feed gets blooded with 1,500 stories every day. The current ranking system means users usually see about 300 of those stories. The new algorithm should allow users to see more of what’s relevant to them and their community.

Other factors determining which stories users see on their page are the regularity in which a user interacts with that friend particular friend, the number of likes, comments and shares the post receives, as well as previous levels of interaction with that kind of post.

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