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Algorithm on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok

Social media
30 Jun, 2019
What is the algorithm?

It is a set of instructions or rules (defined and unambiguous), ordered and finite, that allow solving a problem and carrying out certain tasks.

What is the Facebook Algorithm based on?

In the case of Facebook, it ranks the posts each user sees in the order they are likely to enjoy them, based on a variety of factors, also known as ranking signals (image). Ranking signals are data points about the past behavior of one user, as well as the behavior of everyone else on the platform. For example: do people share this post with their friends? How often do you like your boss’s posts? From your mother? Do you usually watch live videos? And so on.

Facebook mentions three main categories of ranking signals: - Who a user usually interacts with - The type of media in the post (for example, video, link, photo, etc.) and The popularity of the post.

These key factors that allow Facebook to classify personalized content emerged from different studies where what users valued was explored, and behaviors continue to be monitored on a daily basis.

Examples to gain relevance on Facebook

Start posts or conversations that get people talking to each other. According to Facebook, one of the algorithm’s key ranking signals is whether a user has previously interacted with a certain page. And while no one is going to interact with your brand page the way they would with their friends’ pages, those “Likes” and “Shares” go a long way toward increasing your reach in future posts. For this case, storytelling is often used a lot.

It is also important to prioritize video content over static images, especially if it is about videos that are capable of holding the user’s attention for more than a minute.

The algorithm will increase our influence because videos generate: - More interactions counted for the simple fact that they are being reproduced - More engagement in the user and Greater virality and reach (users can share and reuse them in other channels such as a blog, WhatsApp, messenger, etc.).

In addition, if we have the possibility to implement Facebook live video, the influence will be even greater because it averages six times more participation than a normal video.

What is the Instagram algorithm based on?

The more followers interact with your posts, the more reach you will have. Likes are no longer so important when it comes to measuring the impact of a publication, since now other more important aspects come into play: if the publications are saved, shared or commented, or when the videos are played. This serves to filter those accounts that buy “likes”. Also, the comments on each post have to be at least 4 words long for Instagram to take them into account.

As if that were not enough, the first 15 minutes after you share your post are the most important. Depending on the interactions you get in that period of time, Instagram will grant you a greater or lesser reach. And if we talk about “beating the clock” and getting more interactions in less time, of course we have to think about videos and reels; each view will be counted as an interaction and, if it generates enough interactions in a few minutes, our content will be published in the explore section of users who are related to our market.

Moreover, if we use all the content formats that the platform allows (post, reel, IGTV or stories), Instagram will reward us with more reach. Of course, these actions must be coherent and previously planned, because it is the only thing that will ensure consistency in the work we do.

And finally, but not least, it should be noted that the Instagram team “demystifies” the fact that videos have more weight than images for the relevance ranking, and that they will prioritize the type of content that the user consumes more.

What is the algorithm based on in TikTok?

The case of TikTok is also very similar to that of Instagram when evaluating the relevance of the content. The system is attentive to the viewing rates of the videos, not just the total views, but the videos that are viewed from beginning to end.

Additionally, interactions such as comments, likes, and shared content are another factor for ranking.

And beyond the behavior of the user with the rest of the network, the type of content that the same user publishes is also evaluated; paying attention to the hashtags used or subtitles, in addition to what has to do with the demographic profile and characteristics of the user. All of these factors are indispensable to the TikTok algorithm.

Example of algorithm operation in TikTok

Whenever someone creates and uploads a video, TikTok pushes it towards a group of viewers. A part of these people will see the video, and the TikTok algorithm will evaluate its “Performance Ranking”, which is based on the completion rate of the video (that is, the percentage of the video that the initial viewers watch), the times shared, comments and likes. If the “Performance Ranking” result is high enough, TikTok will continue to push that video to other groups of viewers.

The completion rate is the most important part of the equation. Therefore, you need to make sure that your video is of sufficient quality that people will watch it through to the end – remember that these are only short videos.

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