Ever wondered what shows up in a user’s Facebook News feed? Well, it’s complicated, but I hope to help you better understand it.

Facebook users typically have a lot of friends and like many pages, so there is a logistical challenge that most social networks have. How can they show you something you as a user like? Twitter has decided to throw every update from everyone in a chronological form, but Facebook isn’t so easy. They’ve put many hours of research behind their decisions. So, let’s go through them.

Facebook likes to show us likes

This is the main catalyst to show up on user’s feeds. The more likes & shares a post has the more it’ll be seen. Facebook likes to show interaction and great content, so it’s pretty simple here.

Get interaction quickly

As silly as it is, it may be a good idea for you to like your own posts because it’ll be weighted heavier than other posts that have 0 likes. However, it just seems a little sad. You’ll quickly know if a post will do well based solely on how many likes it has in the first hour. If you are still sitting at zero, your post will probably be dead to newsfeeds.

Facebook Users are different than Facebook Pages

What a user posts is more likely to show up in other users’ feeds. Users go to Facebook to interact with other users, and sometimes users like hundreds or even thousands of pages, so it’s tough as a page to break through the newsfeed barrier to the user. That’s why as a page you’ll have 1,000 likes, but you’ll only reach 100-150 users. You’re up against when users are online and the interaction of other pages with more interaction. The elephant in the room is of course pages can show up with money i.e. Facebook advertising, so it’s financially in the best interest of Facebook to limit the amount of exposure a page has, so they are more likely to advertise.

Users: Text < Pictures, Pages: Pictures > Text

As a user, your text updates are more likely to be shown in the newsfeed based on user research, but as a page your text updates have severely restricted reach, and so it’s very important to include a picture. Anytime you’re posting a link, it should try to include a picture. In my tests with a page above 500 likes, a text update may reach 20-30 people whereas a picture/link with picture tends to reach 60-100 people. One of my friends will often put text in the picture to get over this hurdle.

With these four big determiners, you should better understand how Facebook analyzes what content to show other users.