- Facebook has announced a tweak to the notoriously complex News Feed algorithm that will factor in time spent looking at posts -- in addition to likes, comments and shares -- to measure active engagement.
- The change comes as Facebook identified that users will take time on certain types of posts -- like serious events, photo albums -- but are unlikely to actively engage.
- Now the algorithm will weigh items that inspire time spent more heavily than ones that are quickly scrolled past.
Facebook is following a trend from publishers and other digital entities that want to include time spent as a measurement for engagement online. A survey from Digital Context Next showed that 80% of premium publishers wanted to sell ads based on time spent rather than clicks or impressions. Facebook has long been in the mix for publishers' distribution, and recently added of Instant Articles, putting some distance between the social giant and publishing. That involvement means Facebook benefits more from giving publishers what they want.
Plus, users will hopefully enjoy a better experience if the algorithm considers all of their interests -- not just what inspires a like, comment, or share.