It is believed that considering the amount of time users spend reading a particular story will help to improve the news feed experience in two ways: First, if a user spends a considerable amount of time reading a story, it is assumed that this is a story of particular interest and they would likely want to see other similar stories. Second, if a user clicks on a story and goes directly back to their news feed, this means they either did not like the story or that it was not what they expected after reading the headline.
The Facebook Feed Quality Program surveys thousands of users daily regarding their news feed experience. “From these conversations we have learned liking, clicking, commenting or sharing a post—don’t always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to them. For example, we’ve found that there are stories people don’t like or comment on that they still want to see, such as articles about a serious current event, or sad news from a friend,” said Moshe Blank, Software Engineer and Jie Xu, Research Scientist in a recent blog post.
Also, in an effort to improve page diversity, the number of stories showing up in the news feed from the same source will also be limited. According to Facebook, the algorithm change excludes page loading time in calculating time spent viewing stories.
For brands, getting to the top of user news feeds is no longer an easy task. This news feed algorithm change means brands will need to focus on providing more interesting, user-relevant content than ever before. Since news feed story bounces are similar to a dislike, brands will need to ensure they are producing content their audience wants to spend time reading.
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