Definition: Facebook News Feed is the primary means for users to consume information on Facebook, consisting of an constantly-updating feed of friends' activity and third party advertisements. A business' ultimate objective on Facebook is to create captivating content that stands out on user feeds, facilitating engagement with followers and uninitiated users alike.
News Feed evolved from an open content delivery tool to a tightly-controlled medium to reach prospective customers. As Facebook quickly became among the most visited websites in the world - second to only Google - the valuable News Feed real estate became carefully regulated by Facebook's algorithm.
Facebook once used a system called EdgeRank to determine what people saw in their News Feeds. EdgeRank relied on criteria like the affinity between user and source, the type of content (photos, video, text) and the timeliness of the post. In 2013, Facebook replaced EdgeRank with a more refined algorithm. For the first time, timeliness and relevance became important qualifications for businesses to think of when generating content. In addition, posts that users deemed "low quality" quickly lost visibility.
As advertising grew on the platform, Facebook started monitoring how users interact with sponsored stories. When users engaged a certain type of sponsored content by liking, sharing or commenting, they started seeing similar advertising types in their News Feeds. Companies realized it takes more than just dollars to succeed with Facebook advertising. Zeroing in on target audience and creating relevant, engaging content is paramount to success in the Facebook News Feed.
News media found a ready-made audience on Facebook, and as clicks on articles increased, the social media giant began to pay more attention to what types of content users prefer. This inspired the birth of the "Related Articles" widget that now appears under an article you just clicked on. Facebook now measures user behavior in regards to articles, and advises companies to produce quality content that is prone to organic shares.
Video consumption has grown at a rapid pace, and businesses that produce useful, entertaining videos receive more natural impressions. Users can now hide an ad they don't like and offer a reason why it should not be in their News Feed. Sometimes they report the ad isn't relevant to them, or they say the ad is offensive. Facebook uses this feedback to further refine their algorithm so they can offer the best user experience possible.