What is a “highlighted story” on Facebook?

Recently, we’ve been talking with a few Communicators who want to know more about how Facebook determines what shows up in the News Feed when users log in. You may have noticed a feature called “Highlighted Stories,” which looks like this:


These stories are Facebook’s way of inferring what content users would most like to see when they first log in. Facebook explains the formula they use to decide which posts appear:

We determine whether something is a highlighted story based on lots of factors, including your relationship to the person who posted the story, how many comments and likes it got, what type of story it is, etc. For example, a friend’s status update that might not normally be a highlighted story may be highlighted after many other friends comment on it.

Facebook Help Center: What is a highlighted story?

For those of us managing Facebook pages, this may mean that some fans will not see our content unless their friends are also interacting with us. Our content may also disappear from their News Feeds if they haven’t interacted with us recently by clicking on shared links, commenting on or liking our posts. In fact, comScore found that “[…] users are 40-150 times more likely to consume branded content in the Newsfeed than to visit the Fan Page itself.” (The Power of Like, July 2011)

How can we ensure that fans stay active? A few suggestions:

  • Encourage feedback: Rather than only posting links, ask for opinions from your fans. Take a poll using Facebook Questions. Run a photo caption contest.
  • Choose relevant and compelling content: This may seem elementary, but remember the audience you’re trying to reach. If it’s current students, provide campus news and bring up common milestones (the Beanpot; the end of finals; a department-wide social event). Check your Facebook Insights regularly to see which pieces of content are getting the most feedback. Patterns here may inform your decisions as you go.
  • Encourage visits to your Facebook page elsewhere: Do you have sharing functionality built into your website? Are you promoting your Facebook page through your more traditional marketing channels?

How have you been promoting activity on your Facebook page?

Related: 27% of Facebook Browsing on Newsfeed, Just 10% on Apps (Inside Facebook)


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Debola posted on July 4, 2013 at 10:38 am

I encountered this same sort of problem on the news feed of a Facebook page of a website I manage.
Frankly speaking, I think it all boils down to the sort of contacts and fan friends you have on the page.
I will put into effect your three suggestions on how to ensure that fans stay active.

Nice analytical post

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