Time Spent Reading Stories Now a Facebook Algorithm Signal

Facebook announced today it has added a new ranking factor to its News Feed algorithm. In addition to likes, comments, and shares — Facebook will now take into account the time people spend with a piece of content.

Based on user feedback, Facebook has learned that content can still be meaningful even if people haven’t taken the time to like, share, or comment on a story.

“There are times when, for example, people want to see information about a serious current event, but don’t necessarily want to like or comment on it. Based on this finding, we are updating News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal—how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed.”

Facebook’s new algorithm signal will not necessarily consider the total amount of seconds you spend reading a piece of content, but rather total time spent in comparison to the time you usually spend on other pieces of content. ‘

For example, if you spend 15 seconds with a story you found in the news feed when you usually spend 5 seconds, that would still be considered significant.

“Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future.”

For Page owners, the company says you should not expect to see drastic changes in reach as a result of this update. This new algorithm signal has already started rolling out, and will continue to be rolled out over the coming weeks.