How to Crack the Facebook Algorithm and Have it Work for YOU - understanding Facebook's Brain

Today, we are going to be diving right inside the mind of the Facebook machine. It's going to be a hell of a ride. 


Ready? Let's get right into it.


As I am sure you are aware, online advertising is drastically different to traditional marketing mediums such as magazines, TV or billboard ads. 


BUT here's where most people go wrong. 


Most people think the main difference between the two is that one is done online and the other is done offline. And that because most attention right now is online and on social media, online advertising is thus more powerful and profitable. Oh and also, online advertising is far more trackable and tangible.


That is ALL true, but that's not the biggest difference between traditional advertising and online advertising. 


No, the biggest difference comes down to the delivery equation. Here's what the traditional way of delivering an ad is/was like (in a very simplified way): 





As you can see, you create the ad, decide the placement and you launch it, hoping it sticks. The strongest determinants of the performance of this method is the creativity and imagination of the marketer or group of marketers that created the ad. 

Now, here's how Facebook advertising works (in an extremely simplified way): 




As you can see, there's an extra step to this new equation - the algorithm, or as we like to refer to it at MogulZ, Facebook's brain. Now, the marketer's creativity & imagination is as important, but the ad is also going to run through Facebook's brain before being placed in front of an audience. 


Why is this important? 


No longer is creating compelling and highly converting ads the sole most important determinant of advertising success. 


To be successful with online advertising, we must also understand the way Facebook's brain works. 


We must understand the algorithm that runs Facebook ads and its content delivery system.

Why does it show this thing to that person? How does it make decisions? What are the formulae and equations that the algorithm uses to navigate the Facebook landscape?


It's a very complex sophisticated machine and if we are to master it, we need to understand how it thinks.  


Here are a few things to keep in mind to better understand it: 


Semi-human semi-robot - Facebook's brain is a machine, making billions of rapid decisions all the time. However, although the machine is not human, it was created and is updated by humans. The machine inherits human intents. 


The Machine's intent - Facebook wants to survive, and it does so by keeping users on its platform. To do so, it needs to keep them engaged. To do so, it needs to provide a good user experience. By doing so, it can sell ads that make money and helps it grow.The


Machine's Eyes - are the inputs of data. This is what feeds the brain that makes decisions to serve the intent. 


If this all sounds complicated, I'm going to make it very simple and get into the actionable tactics you can implement to make sure you're influencing the machine right.

First, we need to understand that we cannot change the machine's biases and how it makes decisions, BUT we can feed it the inputs it prefers so it makes the decisions WE prefer it to make to get the outputs we desire. 


So here are two of its many biases and what to feed it to make things go BOOM: 


Lexical Sentiment Bias 


The Facebook brain can tell if a post/ad is negative or positive based on its words. The algorithm wants to serve its users positive content because it wants its users happy, not sad. 


A great way to hack Facebook's happiness bias is changing words in your copy to increase 'happiness' without changing the core message. 


Copy/paste your text into a lexical sentiment analysis tool to see the score you get. Most tools will give you a positive, negative or neutral score. 


You may be including words innocently that could be harming your ad. For example, just now - 'harm'. Or 'hurts', 'sick' 'failure' 'worst' etc. These are words we tend to use daily but words that Facebook does not like.


Graphical Sentiment Bias 


Surprise, surprise. Facebook can also tell what is featured on images and videos. It detects objects, scenes and emotions among others. 


And as always, it has a bias towards happy content. It drastically favours positive objects, scenes and emotions. 


This means: people over products (ideally both men and women in the same image), ideally outdoors (nature performs better), and smiling and having a good time (Facebook will read the emotion on their faces). 


Those two are just some of the Facebook algorithm's biases. Next week I'll be going over some of its other biases and how you can ensure you feed it inputs it wants to see, so you get what the output you want to see. 


It's sometimes crazy to see the amount of advertisers that completely neglect Facebook's brain. They behave like Facebook does not care about the users that are seeing the ads and they end up getting themselves into trouble. 


They choose to act alone, completely neglecting the machine, and it's not a good way to go. What I can tell you is that having Facebook brain's working FOR you instead of against you will really take your online advertising success to new heights.