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4 Ranking Factors that Affect Facebook’s Algorithm in 2021

You make a Facebook post and BAM! Your content is now broadcast to the world. Well, not exactly. Facebook’s uses its infamous algorithm to determine how it shows content to its users. And thanks to the algorithm, the potential reach for organic content can be pretty bleak. In fact, Hootsuite reported that as of the end of 2020, the average reach of an organic Facebook post was only 5.2 percent (compared to 5.5 percent in 2019 and 7.7 percent in 2018). Understanding Facebook’s algorithm in 2021 is important to know how your content is interpreted.

A quick recap

No one really knows how Facebook has constructed its algorithm, unless you work for Facebook. However, the company has divulged some insight over the years.

The algorithm works by taking all of the posts in a user’s network and ranking them according to certain factors. It then uses those rankings to determine what content to show the user, and what content to discard. Factors relate to Facebook’s intention to provide users “personalized” social media experiences (more on that in a minute).

What this means for marketers is that if your content doesn’t come across as appealing for users according to Facebook’s algorithm, it will get cast by the wayside.

Organic vs. paid

When we reference “organic” content, we mean content posted to Facebook that is not a paid Facebook ad. Rather than having money behind it, this content (theoretically) spreads “organically” throughout the Facebook network via user engagement.

Paid content, on the other hand, is just how it sounds. Also referred to as “sponsored” content, this content is disseminated throughout Facebook’s network based on a dollar amount assigned to it.

Ranking factors for Facebook’s algorithm in 2021

In analyzing Facebook’s algorithm on a very base level, it focuses on a few key ranking factors.

When it was posted 

Posts that were posted more recently rank higher than older content. Easy enough.

Who posted it

Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes content from people, groups and pages you interact with most often.

Type of content

Similarly, Facebook ranks content based on the type of content you gravitate toward most often. For example, if you interact with video posts more than posts with links, then your newsfeed will reflect that.

Post engagement

How much interaction has the post received since it’s been posted? Posts with more engagement (i.e. likes, comments, shares) will be prioritized in being shown organically on others’ news feeds.

What this means for marketers

With the average reach for an organic Facebook post being relatively low, it makes it all the more important as a marketer to post meaningful, relevant, quality content. If the algorithm prioritizes content with high engagement, make it something people will want to share. If the algorithm prioritizes popular types of content, pay attention to what types of content people are interacting with, and post more of that type.

It also means that your overall strategy should employ a healthy mix of organic and paid content. It’s tough to be effective as a business page on Facebook solely on organic content these days—especially for small businesses with limited followers.


Ranking factors for Facebook’s algorithm in 2021 remind us of the importance of posting quality content that truly resonates with your audiences. And a little paid promotion thrown in there never hurts.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.


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