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Decoding Social Media Algorithms: Understanding the Secrets Behind Content Ranking

Decoding Social Media Algorithms: Understanding the Secrets Behind Content Ranking

May 26, 2023 / Naomi Ross

Algorithms have become an integral part of our lives, shaping the content we see on social media platforms. From Facebook's privacy-focused strategy to Twitter's battle against manipulation, understanding how social media algorithms work is essential for marketers and individuals alike. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of social media algorithms, focusing on Meta, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, and provide valuable insights for marketers to optimise their content and engage with their audiences effectively.

Facebook: Prioritising Meaningful Conversations

Facebook's algorithm underwent a major shift in 2018, prioritising "meaningful conversations" and content from friends and family over news articles and publishers. Marketers faced challenges as organic traffic declined, and the platform embraced Stories as a primary content format. To succeed on Facebook, marketers should embrace Facebook Stories, create engaging content that sparks discussions, utilise videos and live videos, and avoid overly promotional or clickbait-y content.


Instagram: Engaging Visual Content for Success

Instagram is a vital platform for marketers, with its algorithm aiming to deliver content that users will engage with while maximising ad revenue. Key factors influencing the algorithm include users' interests, timeliness, and relationships. Marketers should post regularly, use relevant hashtags, and leverage Instagram's popular features like Stories and Reels to drive engagement and reach a wider audience.


TikTok: The Power of Personalised Content

The TikTok algorithm is the driving force behind the success and popularity of this short-form video app. It works by analysing user behaviour, preferences, and engagement to curate a personalised feed of content. The algorithm takes into account factors such as video interactions (likes, comments, shares), watch time, and user preferences to determine the content that will appear on a user's "For You" page. TikTok's algorithm is known for its ability to surface content from a wide range of creators, allowing users to discover and engage with diverse and entertaining videos.


YouTube: Navigating the Video Landscape

YouTube, the largest video-sharing platform, relies on factors such as upload frequency, subscribers, views, likes/dislikes, and video metadata for its algorithm. Marketers looking to leverage YouTube should prioritise consistent posting, create videos of 7-16 minutes in length, and optimise titles, descriptions, and keyword tags to improve discoverability.


Twitter: Real-Time Updates and Engagement

Twitter is a unique platform bridging news and social media, attracting users who crave up-to-the-minute information. Its algorithm emphasises timing and engagement rate. Marketers can optimise their presence on Twitter by leveraging the 280-character limit, posting frequently, and engaging with other users to increase visibility and reach.


LinkedIn: Professional Networking with Personal Touch

LinkedIn's algorithm evaluates profiles based on identity, content, and behaviour. It focuses on job-related information and connections, but also plans to include personal interests in its algorithm. To maximise visibility on LinkedIn, marketers should engage with their network connections, post status updates, and experiment with different writing styles.


Social media algorithms play a crucial role in determining the content users see, making it imperative for marketers to understand and adapt to their workings. It keeps us on our toes!



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