Facebook News Feed Update: Negative Feedback May Not Be Accurate


Facebook Insights offer a wealth of data about how your audience is receiving your Facebook page posts. While many social media marketers seem to only measure their post success in terms of likes, comments, shares, and clicks, Facebook offers so much more in the way of post analytics. You can view things like organic vs paid reach, video viewership and much more. There’s a wealth of data for those that want to dig into it (and you really should, as this data provides great insight into what your following likes and doesn’t care to see).

One of the metrics Facebook provides page owners is Negative Feedback. This metric is made up of 4 different actions combined into a single number. These actions are: Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, and Unlikes of Page. Each of these actions are seen as an indication of negative feelings towards your page posts and because of this poor sentiment, they can greatly decrease the overall reach of a post. The problem is, this Negative Feedback number isn’t totally accurate.

Not As Negative As It Seems

Facebook recently provided a better explanation of the “Hide” function. While it’s meant for users to hide posts they don’t want to see (maybe they don’t care about it, they’re offended by it, or they see too much of it), they’ve found that a small group of people that hide a very high number of stories. These people aren’t doing so because they hate the things they’re seeing, but rather this is just the way they choose to use the site. Maybe they’re a bit OCD and like to clean up their feed after they’ve read each story. Who knows what the reason.

The problem was that this constant hiding of most every post can have a big impact on our pages. With all of the changes to the Facebook News Feed over the past couple years, the way people react and interact to our posts has a great effect on the overall reach (and success) of each item we publish. Negative Feedback is weighted very heavily by Facebook when factoring how much reach a message will see. While shares, comments, and likes all help to boost a post reach, Negative Feedback hurts it. It also means these super hiders see less posts from everyone they’re connected with.

Facebook has now updated the News Feed to make sure these people see more of the stuff they’re interested in by not taking this action in account as strongly as before. As for page owners, Facebook had this to say:

This update means that the small group of people who hide many stories will start to see more stories in their News Feed, and so will likely hide more stories overall. This means that the total number of hidden stories across Facebook will increase — so Page admins may see an increase in this metric in their Page Insights. We do not expect Pages to see significant changes in distribution as a result of this update.

So, while they have made a chance to make sure these heavy hiders see more of your updates, you’ll also likely see a few more Negative Feedback showing in your analytics as these people start seeing more posts and thus hiding more too.

Now You’re In The Know

Facebook is constantly making changes to the News Feed to help give users the best experience possible. While many marketers seem to believe these changes are targeted at hurting them, they’re generally done to keep people on the site longer and thus increase the chances they’ll see your posts or ads.

With this change helping those that hide most see more updates on the site, marketers will likely see a slight increase in the number of posts hidden. At the same time, it also means that those heavy hiders will start to see more posts from their friends and brands too (including yours). Being aware of these changes and how they will impact your social reporting and success can be a big help when driving your social programs.


Originally published at benbrausen.com on August 5, 2015.