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How the Facebook Algorithm Works & 15 Ways Your Business Can Win

In this post, you are going to learn the 15 pieces to the Facebook algorithm puzzle, and the 1 key that will help you to unlock it all... so that you can get better displays, better views, and better access to Facebook's best users.

These 15 tips will help you to get the most out of Facebook’s algorithm… but this one key ingredient will help you to crush the algorithm and make it all work for you!

Facebook offers incredible viewing power, even when you compare it to something as big as Twitter.

As of June of 2019, the platform boasted an impressive worldwide monthly-active-user-base of 2.41 billion!

On average, 1.59 billion people log on daily, and are considered 'daily active users.'

Like and Share buttons from Facebook are also viewed across almost 10 million websites every day!

But how can you leverage all of this attention for your business?

How can you 'crack the code' on Facebook advertising to unlock the true power of Facebook's algorithm, and feed Facebook what it wants so that your ads will succeed?
Today, you're going to learn!

So let's start with the basics. What is the Facebook algorithm?

Let's dive in.

What Is Facebook's Algorithm?

what is facebook algorithm

Facebook's algorithm is the machine learning program, or AI, that was written and continues to be updated by the FB developers. This program determines which posts, ads, notifications, and more users on Facebook receive and at what time.

This runs organically with the native content that people publish to Facebook, but it also runs their advertising system.

If you are hoping to do any effective marketing with FB, you need to understand how Facebook works, how meaningful interactions are going to impact your strategy, and how to best get your content in front of the right type of audience.

Here is a very important question.

When you log into Facebook on any given day, what is the Facebook algorithm going to show you on your Facebook news feed?

What friends are you going to see? What conversations are going to come up? What businesses, Facebook ads, or users are you going to be exposed to?

All of this is controlled by the Facebook algorithm.

The 3 Pieces To The Facebook Algorithm

There are 3 main things that the algorithm is looking for, and there are 5 core elements within each of these that you MUST master if you want to actually succeed at growing your business with Facebook marketing.

As a marketer, when you play to all 15 of these core elements in the way that the Facebook algorithm likes, you are going to access the best segments of your audience and/or customer base via Facebook.

So let's go ahead and jump into these 3 separate puzzle pieces.

Number 1: The User Experience On Facebook

user experience on facebook

This is definitely the most important factor that plays into the Facebook algorithm.

The user's attention is the product of Facebook.

Facebook doesn't charge anyone for anything, other than advertisers.

And what are they charging advertisers for?

They charge for the attention of users.

They are essentially charging for the right to be displayed to user's of their platform.

With this being said, Facebook always needs (and wants) to make sure that their users are having a positive experience and meaningful interactions.

This positive experience is what gets Facebook users to keep coming back to Facebook.

If Facebook users...

  • Have negative experiences
  • Grow tired of the platform
  • Or don't like being on it for one or more reasons

... that is at odds with Facebook's long-term goal, which is to remain a viable long-term corporation and popular social-media platform.

What Does This Mean For Your Advertising Efforts On Facebook?

This means that your advertising needs to play into Facebook's goals.

And thankfully, there are a few metrics you can monitor inside of your ad account, beyond the basic click-through rate stuff, that can help you to hone your strategy, appeal more to your audience, and give your company an 'edge' in the game of Facebook advertising.

What Can You Look At To Hone Your Facebook Ad Or Post Strategy?

how to hone facebook ad strategy

One of the best things to look at for this purpose is your relevance score.

But you can also look at what is called a 'negative feedback column,' and a 'positive feedback column.'

These do not show up automatically. You need to go add them to your display in the ads manager, but you definitely want to be monitoring them.

Do you have high positive feedback and low negative feedback rates? Or do you have low positive feedback rates and high negative feedback rates?

The truth is that, if you do have a higher negative feedback rating, this means that Facebook is going to throttle you.

They are going to show less of your content. And if you're on the borderline of breaking one of their terms of service, they might just ban your account outright!

On the flipside of that coin, though... if you are creating ads that give users a positive, engaging experience, and if you make their users feel good about themselves, get smiley faces, hearts, thumbs-up reactions, positive comments, etc... then Facebook is actually going to want to display your advertisement to more people.


Because you are creating a positive experience for their users.

This Is A Huge Factor With Facebook Ads

How does your advertisement make users feel?

This is really what it all comes down to.

Facebook is trying to cultivate this "happy eco-system" where everything is rose-petals and rainbows... and even though you and I both know that life isn't always like that... that is exactly what Facebook is trying to create for its audience-base.

So the more your advertisements work in that direction, the better your chances will be of getting your ad seen by Facebook's audience.

Also Keep In Mind Why People Keep Coming Back To Facebook

Keep in mind that people keep coming back to Facebook for new stuff. They want to know...

  • What's going on in the world
  • What's going on with their friends
  • What everyone is talking about

It really isn't so different from dropping by the 'coffee shop' or the 'water cooler' to pick up on the news, gossip, and what everyone is talking about.

Master These 5 Core Elements Of The User Experience On Facebook…

  1. Put the user-experience first
  2. Get positive interactions
  3. Check your relevancy score often
  4. Stay on top of your feedback columns
  5. Make sure that every ad contributes to Facebook’s ‘Happy Eco-System’

Number 2: Revenue


While user experience may be the most important piece to the Facebook algorithm puzzle, revenue is most definitely the second!

Facebook is a business... a for-profit corporation, to be exact. And as such, revenue is important.

Facebook has investors. And to be super honest, 2018 Facebook didn't have the best investor-year on the books!

This obviously makes investors wary, and if more investors get worried and sell their stock... the stock price will continue to drop.

This brings us to an important question.

How can Facebook convince investors to remain invested, and/or how can Facebook attract more investors so that they can raise their stock price?

The best way to do both of these things is to generate more revenue.

And where does Facebook's revenue come from?

Easy. It comes from advertising!

The Second Goal Of Facebook's Algorithm Is To Make As Much Money For The Platform As Possible

So what does this mean for you as an advertiser?

What insights can you glean from this information to help yourself as a digital marketer, who wants to leverage Facebook to help your business by digital marketing to your ideal customer?

Well, if you have an ad that gets a high click-through rate, and you get lots of conversions inside of your funnel, Facebook is going to display your advertisement more than an ad that has a low click-through rate, and low conversion rates through their funnel.


Because Facebook realizes that when a funnel is optimized, and when an ad gives users a good experience and gets users to take action, that creates revenue.

Every time that ad is clicked, and every time a customer engages with it, Facebook knows that they are going to make money.

Facebook Looks At Great Advertisers As Partners

facebook looks at great advertisers

Facebook realizes that someone who has their funnel dialed-in is the kind of person who might spend $50,000-$100,000, $500,000, or even millions on advertising over the course of their lifetime.

On the flipside, if you...

  • Have a rubbish funnel
  • Cannot get people to click on your ad
  • Can't get anyone to engage on your landing page

... Facebook knows that you really aren't cutting it as a professional advertiser, and that the odds of you spending a lot of money on their platform are pretty low!

What does this mean? It's actually pretty simple.

It means that you won't get the quality displays (or any displays, for that matter), because Facebook will be busy displaying the ads that belong to their positive partners who are providing quality engagement levels and a positive experience for their users.

This Means That You Need To Put Your Best Foot Forward With Your Marketing Efforts On Facebook

You need to have...

  • Your funnel dialed-in
  • Your ads dialed-in
  • Awesome ad-copy
  • Split-tests set up, to determine which of your ads is going to work the best

At the end of the day, Facebook is not responsible for your conversion rates.
You are!
Your click-through rates, the number of people who opt-in to your offers, and the number of people who actually buy on your sales pages are up to you!

That is your job as a digital marketing specialist!

In Fact, This Is The Biggest Mistake People Make

So often, I see people just running ads, thinking that somehow the ad is a solution... when in reality, they are only sending this traffic to a random Shopify homepage or some other homepage where there is, in all likelihood, a .00001 percent chance that they are ever going to get any conversions!

You have to build a high-converting funnel first. Then you add-on the Facebook ads.

And obviously, you can use Facebook to test all of this out as you set it up and get it going as well.

Keep These 5 Revenue Tips In Mind To Further Pave The Way For A Successful Ad Campaign On Facebook…

  1. Make sure that your ads have awesome copywriting
  2. Make sure that every ad has an awesome, relevant image
  3. Make sure that your funnel is optimized for maximum conversions
  4. Become a GREAT advertiser so that Facebook will look at you as a partner
  5. Continually split test to maximize the effectiveness of your ads

Number 3: Happy Advertisers

happy advertisers

After the user experience on Facebook and the revenue generated by ads, the number 3 most important key to Facebook's algorithm puzzle is happy advertisers.

Contrary to what you may think, Facebook does care about advertisers like you and I.

They really do want to partner with you as an advertiser. They really like it when an advertiser has a really good ad, and a really good funnel.

They like it when ads...

  • Get displayed
  • Get positive engagements
  • Get people to take action into the funnel
  • Get people to convert


Because Facebook knows that if...

  • You are making money
  • Facebook is making money
  • And people are having a good experience and meaningful interactions...

...Then that arrangement has the potential of continuing, and earning Facebook potentially tens-of-thousands of dollars in revenue over the coming months and years.

There are a lot of small digital marketers, myself included, who spend (and have spent) hundreds of thousands of dollars in Facebook ads.

And for obvious reasons, Facebook likes those kinds of long-going relationships, so they are looking at all of these different things to figure out which ads and advertisers are going to be the most profitable.

And the good news is that if you do it right, they actually want to show your ads and see you succeed.

Follow These 5 Rules To Make Sure That You Become And Stay A Quality Advertiser On Facebook…

    1. Keep working to get leads in your funnel through your FB ads
    2. Keep making your ads better and better
    3. Make as much actual money with your ads as possible
    4. Regularly run your ads to show consistency
    5. Get as many leads as possible to take action and spend money within your funnel

So What Is The One Thing You Can Do To Trigger The Facebook Algorithm In A Positive Way?

how to trigger facebook algorithm positively

The number-1 key to triggering the Facebook algorithm in a positive way is to use lots and lots of different variations of creative content.

Variation is really the key word here. This is what brings it all together.

You want to break down each of the different segments of your audience, and advertise to each one of them individually.

So, if you have 30 audiences that you are advertising to, and then you use 3 or 4 different images, and 3 or 4 different hooks, and you mix in a couple of videos, the number of potential variations start to really grow.

And when you start mixing these different variations together, you start to get a 'multiplying' effect, where you actually end up with thousands upon thousands of unique variations of your ad.

But how does this help?

Facebook Can Use These Different Variations To Help Accomplish Its Goals

As you seed your audiences all of these different variations, Facebook will start to pick up on which audiences are more likely to click on which variations of your ad you are running... and they will actually start showing the versions of your ad that are most likely to be clicked-on by the particular audience member they are showing it to.

Of course, you control this to a point by only allowing for a few specific variations at a time (for example, you run an ad with two different variations for ad copy... or with two or four different variations for the image, etc.).

But what you are going to find is that some variations are simply going to massively outperform others with certain audiences.

So what you are actually doing here is creating a collection of add/audience combinations that you can run for long periods of time moving forward.

Variation Is The Key To Unlocking Facebook's Algorithm

variation to unlock facebook algorithm

My best advertisement has been displayed on Facebook over two million times at this point... and it has been running for almost 3 years.

At one point, this ad was just a random variation that I tested. It was just an idea for a long-copy ad, I ran it with several different images, and I happened to find this one image and ad combo that just worked really, really well together.

But... that ad doesn't necessarily do well for every single audience. And I am always testing new variations, so that I can...

        • Get a better click-through rate
        • Find the variations that work the best
        • Beat the numbers I am currently getting on my ads and funnels

The Byproduct Of All Of This Is That I Am Creating More Variations Of Content For Facebook To Display

This goes right back to rule number 1... that Facebook wants to create positive experiences for its users.

And if your ads can always be mixed up and new, that fits in really well with Facebook wanting to share not only positive content... but also new content with its audience members.

Remember... the last thing that Facebook wants to do is show the same ad to a user 4 or more times!

But if you give Facebook variations to work with, that helps them to succeed at their first objective... a better customer experience.


Hopefully this post has been helpful to you!

Remember, Facebook wants to give its users a positive experience... and the more you can contribute to this through ad variations, the better off you will be in pushing through that algorithm barrier and figuring out how to get your ads as much attention for your money as possible.

So, now that you know the 15 pieces to Facebook’s advertising algorithm, you can go forth and conquer!

As always, feel free to hit me up in the comments to keep the conversation going. What experiences have you had with your advertisements?

Have you discovered these 15 pieces to the puzzle in your own ad adventures?

Also, feel free to ask me any questions you may have moving forward.

Keep crushing it, and I’ll see you on the next one!