Practical Ecommerce

Facebook Algorithm Change Favors Link-share Posts

Facebook recently announced a change to its algorithm that adversely affects the way a certain type of Page update appears in News Feed.

According to Facebook’s Chris Turitzin, product manager, News Feed ranking, text-only status updates from Pages showed a decline in engagement, based on tests conducted by Facebook. As a result, Pages could now expect to see a decrease in the distribution of such updates.

Page owners have been experiencing a decline in organic reach among posts for several months now — as much as 44 percent according to published reports. This new announcement could prompt Page owners to advertise their Page content to reach the widest audience.

Link-share Posts Show Promise

The test revealed one bright spot for Page owners: Link-share posts — i.e., those that include a link in the update — that were accompanied by an image received more engagement than posts in which links were simply embedded without the use of an image. As a result, Facebook will now likely push more of this type of content into News Feed.

“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,” said Turitzin.

Example of Facebook link-share post with link embedded and no image appears.

Example of Facebook link-share post with link embedded and no image appears.

Example of link-share post that includes an image.

Example of link-share post that includes an image.

Last year, in an effort to increase click-through rates on links and make content more visually appealing, Facebook increased the size of images that appear on link-share posts in News Feed.

For content to be consistent with this new format, Facebook recommends that Page owners include images in linked content such as blog posts and product pages that are 1200×627 pixels, although images set to a minimum of 560×292 pixels will also work. Images smaller than the recommended size will result in posts that look like this.

Link-share post using image smaller than the recommended size.

Link-share post using image smaller than the recommended size.

 

How to Create Link-share Posts

Two steps are required to create link-share posts.

  1. Copy the URL of the link you want to share. This could be a blog post, product page, or other type of interesting content.
  2. Paste the link into the Status Update box on your Facebook Page.

Facebook will pull the title, text, and an image (if one exists) from the link and place it below the status update box. If more than one image is included in the linked content, arrow keys appear that give Page owners the option of choosing which to use. If no image exists, Facebook allows you to add one using the “Upload image” link.

After the information appears, it’s a good idea to delete the link in the status update box and add a comment. This makes for a cleaner appearance and reduces the amount of clutter. Including a comment adds more context to the post, which may increase the chance that the reader will click the link. (The image, title and accompanying text are hyperlinked.)

Example of link-share post where URL has been removed from status update box.

Example of link-share post where URL has been removed from status update box.

Conclusion

The recent algorithm change makes it even more difficult for Facebook Page owners to get their content seen by fans and others. If the goal in posting to Facebook is to drive traffic to your ecommerce website, decrease the use of text-only posts in favor of link-share posts that contain images consistent with the size recommendations listed above.

Paul Chaney
Paul Chaney
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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Ashwin January 29, 2014 Reply

    Hi Paul,

    It’s a decent start but your article doesn’t take into account the time of day, current page PTAT, or current av. engagement levels/post – all of which affect post edgerank.

    Facebook is being coy on details – understandably so – as their base revenue is on admins throwing at least $5/£5 a day on promoted posts.

    What is more important here is developing a longer term newsroom content strategy, and looking at how and what communities as a whole are engaging with, via social analytics.

    In my last position, I did a whole lot of testing – I found that while text+link updates had massive reach, they didn’t necessarily have the best engagement. CTR wasn’t a predictive trend in that respect either.

    What DID produce higher CTRs was the implementation of a long term content strategy – developing trust with your community that they know exactly what they’re getting from your links, and that you’re actually providing them content of utility.

  2. Carole @ Rustic Artistry January 30, 2014 Reply

    I just tried this and replaced the image that uploaded from the link with a different one sized to 1200 x 627. But when I posted it the format changed to the one with the tiny picture and the text to the right. Any suggestions on keeping the large image showing?

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