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29 Exit Intent Popup Examples and What Makes them Effective

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The average time a person spends on a web page is 54 seconds. That’s not a lot of time, but you may be able to entice them to stay with an exit intent popup.

The longer they stay on your website, the better chances are that they’ll convert. If they miss the other calls to action on your site, an exit popup can capture some of your site visitors. Then they might keep reading, subscribe to your email newsletter, or even make a purchase.

The cost of attracting new leads is growing. In fact, more than 60% of marketers say that their customer acquisition cost has gone up in the last three years.

With the right timing and message, exit intent popups are a cost-effective lead generation tool. They can help you:

  • Keep visitors on your site for longer periods
  • Increase conversions
  • Decrease cart abandonment rates
  • Grow your email subscriber list

In other words, exit intent pop-ups know when one of your visitors is about to close their browser window. They serve a visitor a valuable offer or message that’s designed to keep them on the page and hopefully convert.

How do exit intent pop-ups work?

Imagine a visitor is on your ecommerce site browsing your product line. They then decide they want to exit the web page they’re on and they move their cursor off of your website page. But a pop-up appears with an offer like a coupon code or free trial that entices them to stay on the page. They click your CTA and convert instead of leaving your site.

What about exit intent pop-ups on mobile sites?

Over half of website traffic happens on mobile devices. However, there isn’t a reliable way to track exit intention on mobile. But if exit intent pop-ups work by tracking cursor movements, then how does this strategy work on mobile devices?

The triggers that popup tools use to gauge exit intent on mobile vary. If a user is viewing your site from a mobile device, a popup could trigger when they:

  • Press the back button
  • Scroll a percentage of a page
  • Scroll up instead of down
  • Switch between tabs in a browser
  • Stay on a page for a set amount of time
  • Leave a page idle
  • Trigger a JavaScript element

In 2016 there was a lot of buzz around Google’s approach to interstitials like popups. The update said that intrusive interstitials would impact page experience scores on mobile.

With the February 2022 Google update, interstitials will also be part of the desktop experience evaluation. This means that creating a great user experience for your exit intent popup is essential.

It’s best practice to create separate exit intent popups for desktop and mobile devices. This way you can create the best experience for your audience no matter how they choose to browse.

Why would you use an exit intent popup?

Exit intent popups work by providing your website visitors with immediate and easy-to-understand value.

The right exit intent popup can help you keep visitors on your site for longer periods of time. When they’re used and shared on the right web pages at the right time, exit intent popups are also an effective strategy for increasing revenue.

An important note: Try to use exit intent popups only when people haven’t already taken action. A popup that triggers at the wrong time can feel irritating and impersonal to your audience.

Creating a Great Exit Intent Popup

Not everyone is a fan of popups. But a great exit intent popup can be like a jump scare in a horror movie. When they’re used thoughtfully, they can have a powerful impact.

If a site has too many popups or they’re poorly designed, that special offer can get annoying fast.

Let’s talk about what makes an exit intent popup great.

Copy

An exit intent popup should communicate a bold and simple message. So, craft a powerful headline and make your description short and easy to read.

Think about how your popup can solve a problem or offer a useful solution to your visitors.

CTA

Make your call-to-action clear and simple to understand. Motivational words and phrases are key. Your offer should also be unique and align with your brand.

Choose the Right Image

The right exit-intent image should relate to your offer. It should also connect with your target audience. The best images are attention-grabbing, but not so loud that they distract from your offer.

Design

Your popup should be clear, easy to scan, and look great on mobile devices. It should also match the design and vibe of your website.

You’ll also want to think about the user experience. Some users are fine with a popup that fills an entire window. But others might find this overwhelming and prefer a smaller popup to the side or on the bottom of the screen.

Testing

Running A/B tests can help you improve your popup placement and messaging. For example, using exit intent popups to segment your email list is a good idea, but it can take time to get it right.

You may need to do several tests to make sure your popups are targeting prospects and customers at the right moments in the buyer journey.

How to Make an Exit Intent Popup

The easiest way to add popups on your web pages is with an exit intent software tool.

Let’s take a look at the features and benefits you can get from one of these tools by looking at an example.

Exit Intent Popup Software: HubSpot Exit Intent Forms

Exit intent popup form in the HubSpot dashboard.

Price: Free forever, $45/mo (Starter), $800/mo (Professional), $3,200/mo (Enterprise)

HubSpot’s Popup Forms can display when site visitors appear to be leaving.

After showing your custom exit intent form, you can display a thank you message or send automated emails to your new contacts. You can also choose to target specific contacts based on data about their past visits and behavior with your popup forms.

Adding an exit intent form with HubSpot is simple and quick. This tool also allows you to customize your message, theme, and pop-up timing.

Other tools on the market to help with exit intent pop-ups include Optinmonster, Sleeknote, and Informizely.

Creating popups is like writing headlines. They both look simple but are hard to do well. In the next section, we’ll review some of the best exit intent pop-up examples.

Best Exit Intent Popup Examples for Driving Lead Generation

Over 77% of marketers in 2021 saw an increase in email engagement. But you can’t engage customers with email unless you have a robust subscriber list.

Here are some of the best exit intent pop-up examples for lead generation to inspire and guide your exit intent pop-up creation.

Email or Newsletter Subscription Exit Intent Popup Examples

1. Push Living

Exit intent popup example: Push Living

Why this example works: The text on this popup tells you who this newsletter is for and what you’ll get when you subscribe in a way that’s easy to understand. The subscribe button is big and bold, making the action they want you to take clear.

2. Omsom

Exit intent popup example: Omsom

Why this popup works: This example is well-timed, on-brand, and eye-catching. It clearly states the value you can get out of their email marketing — great food, culture, and exclusives from their founder.

Resource Offer Exit Intent Popup Examples

3. ActiveCampaign

 Exit intent popup example: ActiveCampaign

Why popups like this work: This example offers six free email templates.

ActiveCampaign is offering value with helpful information for its target audience. The company is also positioning itself as a thought leader in the industry.

4. Tim Ferriss

Exit intent popup example: Tim Ferriss

Why examples like this work: This popup includes a powerful headline and a simple download offer. The image highlights Tim Ferriss, a well-known influencer. It teases that he will share some of the questions that have made him successful.

Exit Popup Examples With a Course or Lesson

5. General Assembly

Exit intent popup example: General Assembly

Why this popup works: General Assembly uses a smart headline to pull you into this popup form. There are only three things to fill out, and they’ve limited your choices so you can complete the form fast.

The checkboxes for the topics at the bottom of the popup also highlight what General Assembly offers in case you didn’t get this from scanning the website.

Exit Intent Popup Examples for Segmenting Your Email List

Personalization is the top way marketers improve their email results. There is a lot you can do to segment your current subscribers. But why wait to personalize when you can segment from day one?

These exit intent popup examples give you a chance to segment leads when they subscribe. This makes it easier for you to give them the email content they’ll love from the very beginning.

Exit Popup Examples of Yes/No Forms

6. Coursera

Exit intent popup example: Coursera

Why this exit popup works: This bottom-of-screen popup uses your exit to signal a quick request. Coursera wants your help to learn how you heard about it. The writing is direct, quickly covering how long the survey will take and what it will ask.

Exit Intent Popups to Collect Feedback

7. Everlane

Exit intent popup example: Everlane

Why this example works: This form offers a discount to attract subscribers. The addition of a simple form also helps them send you emails with the products you’re most likely to shop for.

8. thredUp

Exit intent popup example: thredUp

Why popups like this work: As you navigate this site there are many popups that aid in the buying process. Before you leave, they continue to personalize the website experience with a signup offer. The form is a simple way to save the information you’ve already shared.

Instead of intruding, this example feels like a natural part of the shopping process. It’s also a way to make it easier to shop with them in the future.

9. HEYMAEVE

 Exit intent popup example: HEYMAEVE

Why examples like this work: This form includes terms that fashion-savvy readers use. This helps HEYMAEVE give subscribers the looks they crave and also shows you the range of jewelry they offer.

These are the types of customer experiences that leave a good impression on leads, even if they don’t make a purchase. You’re offering them a personal experience. This may lead them to come back in the future or promote your business in their networks by word-of-mouth.

Customized Offer Exit Popup Examples

10. GQ

Exit intent popup example: GQ

Why this popup works: GQ uses the path you follow through their website to serve a custom offer based on what you seem most interested in. For example, clicking on Recommended and scanning the trends pulled up this GQ Daily form.

The colors on the form highlight the choice they want you to choose.

11. Patagonia

Exit intent popup example: Patagonia

Why examples like this work: This exit example doesn’t segment users. But it improves the user experience by offering quick insights on sustainable clothing. Then they direct potential customers to a new and valuable resource.

The text also reassures you that you can keep shopping in their online store when you come back to the main site.

Contest Exit Popup Example

12. JewelScent

Exit intent popup example: JewelScent

Why this example works: JewelScent offers a contest that feels bright and fun because of the colors in the example. The directions are simple and to the point. It gives new customers a short game they weren’t expecting.

13. West Elm

Exit intent popup example: West Elm

Why popups like this work: This contest offer from West Elm makes your rest and relaxation the focus. It’s also time-specific, offering a way to soothe tired moms just a few weeks before Mother’s Day.

Exit Intent Popup Offer to Chat

14. M.M.LaFleur

 Exit intent popup example: M.M.LaFleur

Why examples like this work: This chat example offers you hints about how their stylists can help you find the right size and style for you. With this popup, they are anticipating a common barrier to buying online and showing you how to solve it.

Exit Popup Examples for Closing Sales

You’re spending time and resources driving traffic to your site. But the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.82%.

It can be tough to accept that most of your visitors get so close to making a purchase and then take off just before they cross the finish line.

These exit popups are prime examples of how to keep an attracted buyer on your site until they convert.

Cart Abandonment Exit Intent Popup Example

15. Rothy’s

Exit intent popup example: Rothy’s

Why this popup works: This cart abandonment exit popup is effective because it shows on the page the moment someone who has an item in their cart moves their mouse away from the site.

Not only does it remind visitors that they are leaving items in their shopping cart, but it offers an immediate discount and gives shoppers a chance to subscribe to the content they most want to see.

This is powerful because it shows you that the company values your opinions and feedback.

Discount on Purchase Exit Intent Popup Example

16. Elaluz

Exit intent popup example: Elaluz

Why examples like this work: If you go to leave the Elaluz landing page an offer appears on the screen with a 15% off discount.

The coupon code influences purchase behavior. This example also requires an email address. This means that anyone who wants the code will share their email, whether they use the code that day or not.

17. Mochi Kids

Exit intent popup example: Mochi Kids

Why this exit popup works: This bold design uses fun typography, colors, and graphics to get your attention. With this example Mochi Kids isn’t just offering a discount, it’s showing you the kind of world their products can create for your kids.

18. The Sill

Exit intent popup example: The Sill

Why this popup example works: The image of healthy plants and the offer to “get the dirt” make sure that this example aligns with The Sill’s brand and products. It also offers an attractive discount.

19. CURLS

Exit intent popup example: CURLS

Why exit popups like this work: In addition to effective timing, this popup is located in an ideal spot — the center of the page, where a visitor on the page naturally has to move their cursor. The term “CURLista” in this example tells you that when you sign up you’ll be joining a community that cares about hair as much as you do.

20. Skullcandy

Exit intent popup example: Skullcandy

Why this popup works: It’s unique because it offers a surprise contest entry. Visitors know they’ll get 20% off if they subscribe, but they don’t know whether they’ll also win a special bicycle, which is exciting and enticing.

21. Nguyen Coffee Supply

Exit intent popup example: Nguyen Coffee Supply

Why this popup works: This example doesn’t offer a discount in exchange for an email address. Instead, they make it clear that they want to offer you a discount before you leave their site. Then, they need your email address to give you the discount code.

This approach makes this example feel like it’s more about your needs than joining a mailing list.

Exclusive Offer Exit Intent Popup Example

22. Madewell

Exit intent popup example: Madewell

Why this example works: This example includes smart illustrations and eye-catching design. These additions make this form feel easy to read and fill out instead of overwhelming. The left column outlines the benefits of signing up, while also teasing the potential for more.

23. Mimochai

Exit intent popup example: Mimochai

Why popups like this work: Design details like the heart on the envelope make this example feel like a welcome surprise. The design stands out on the page but doesn’t feel intrusive.

Product Demo Exit Intent Popup Examples

24. Zendesk

Exit intent popup example: Zendesk

Why popups like this work: This example doesn’t waste any time. Instead, it covers everything their product offers in a quick snapshot to entice product demos. The headline tells you what you can do, then the supporting text tells you what problem their product solves.

The image shows the Zendesk dashboard. This makes it easy for a user to compare their dashboard to what they’re already using. All a prospect needs to do is click the button at the bottom to schedule a demo.

Popup Examples That Add Urgency

25. Flamingo

Exit intent popup example: Flamingo

Why this popup works: This example does a great job of covering what you’ll need to know if you want to attend this valuable event. Besides making the deadline clear, the text and design show you exactly what you’ll save if you act quickly.

26. Codeacademy

Exit intent popup example: Codeacademy

Why this popup example works: This example uses different text sizes to emphasize what’s most important for you to read. It starts with a deadline, then tells you what you’ll get if you act soon. Next, it offers instructions so you don’t have any blockers that could stop you from signing up after you click the bright yellow button.

Exit Intent Popups That Suggest Related or Popular Products

27. Blavity

Exit intent popup example: Blavity

Why this exit popup works: This example uses a striking image and bold type to attract attention. The message boosts their brand. Plus the contrasting pink on the button with bold text clearly states what you should do if you want mobile content from Blavity.

Popup Examples for Overcoming Objections

28. TOMS

Exit intent popup example: Toms

Why this example works: Besides tackling shipping costs, which are the top reason that shoppers abandon online shopping carts, the image Toms uses in this example highlights their top product. This helps entice curious shoppers to keep looking.

29. Quince

Exit intent popup example: Quince

Why this popup works: This example makes a bold statement that you can’t ignore. Not just free shipping once, but free shipping on every order.

Free shipping is an important offer for online shoppers. But you don’t usually see anything about shipping until it’s time to check out. This makes it a smart thing to share in a popup.

Increase Conversions With Exit Intent Pop-Ups

Exit intent pop-ups are a simple yet powerful marketing and lead generation strategy. Once you put them into action, you’ll be able to keep more readers on your website and increase conversions and revenue.

Your next step? Learning how to analyze and improve your results.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money


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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.



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2023 Facebook Algorithm Guide: Overview & Best Practices

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2023 Facebook Algorithm Guide: Overview & Best Practices

Every month, 2.7 billion people use Facebook, Meta’s globe-dominating social network. For marketers, this is an un-ignorable audience. However, reaching that audience isn’t always easy – to get content in front of a relevant user, they need to make the Facebook algorithm work in their favor.

Unfortunately, the algorithm can feel very mysterious. Why do some posts go viral with engagement while others wither and disappear without so much as a few courtesy likes?

The good news is that while the technical rules governing Facebook’s algorithm may be in a black box, there are plenty of guidelines and common-sense tips that can help ensure your content gets prioritized and seen. Facebook has published many explainers and tutorials over the past few years to break down how its algorithm ranks and distributes content to users’ Feeds.

Here’s how Facebook’s algorithm works in 2023 with ten expert tips on increasing the impact, performance and lifecycle of your Facebook content.
 

Table of Contents

 

  • What is the Facebook Algorithm?
  • A Recent History of the Facebook Algorithm 
  • How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2023
  • 10 Best Practices for Working with Facebook’s Algorithm
  • Final Takeaway

 

What is the Facebook Algorithm?

 
The Facebook algorithm is the set of rules and formulas that determine what content users see in their Feeds. Its goal is to make the posts that “matter most to the user” highly visible to that user. To do this, it analyzes each piece of content eligible to be displayed and ranks them according to a set of criteria.

As Facebook explains, the algorithm is actually “not just one single algorithm; it’s multiple layers of [machine learning] models and rankings that we apply to predict the most relevant and meaningful content for each user.”

If that sounds complex, that’s because of the sheer volume of content on the Facebook platform. There are over 2 billion Facebook users and trillions of posts they can see; the algorithm needs to be sophisticated to sort through all that content in an instant between launching the Facebook application and the population of each user’s Feed. 

 

A Recent History of the Facebook Algorithm

 

Since 2017, Facebook has been increasingly transparent about significant changes in how it ranks and distributes content. That also means the algorithm is constantly evolving. In general, those updates have favored user input, posts friends and family over publishers, and content personalized to a user’s interests… all geared toward generating more “meaningful interactions.”  These updates include:

 

  • Meaningful Interactions Update (2018) – This update signaled that the algorithm would predict which posts a user might want to interact with their friends about and show these posts higher in Feed. These posts inspire discussion in the comments and posts that users might want to share and react to. 
  • Updates to Video Rankings (2019) – This update boosted the rankings of video posts that users sought out and returned to, watched for more than one minute at a time, and were original creations and not repurposed content. 
  • Addressing Sensational Health Claims (2019) – This update applied some of the existing “clickbait” rules specifically to posts making medical or health claims in an effort to reduce misinformation. Exaggerated or sensational claims were deprioritized, as were posts promoting products that advertised “miracle” cures.

 

The past three years have seen additional updates, and since they’re more recent, they deserve closer examination.

 

2020: Key takeaway from 2020

 

In 2020, Facebook modified its algorithm again to give more weight to original, credible news sources and create more personalized advertising encounters for users based on their interactions. Additional updates this year included changes designed to comply with Apple’s iOS 14’s privacy guidelines. 

 

  • Prioritizing Original Sources: In response to users continually reporting a preference for “news stories that are credible and informative,” Facebook announced that it would make ongoing updates that “prioritize articles in News Feed that we identify as original reporting on a developing story or topic.”
  • Personalized Ads: The Facebook algorithm serves advertisements to a user’s Feed based on the posts and pages they have engaged with previously. Businesses are also given the option to share information about the actions that users take on their websites and apps so they can show the most relevant content in users’ Facebook Feeds. To balance this process of information gathering and sharing, which also lays the foundation for personalized advertising on the platform, Facebook instituted the “Why am I seeing this ad” feature and the “Ad Preferences” dashboard for users (and to address privacy concerns).
  • Retargeting Limitations: Even with expanded personalization, Facebook had to respond to the significant privacy and permissioning guidelines i=within the Apple iOS 14 update released in 2020 (Tinuiti’s Liz Emery takes a more detailed look at this topic here). When Apple users install or update to iOS 14, they will be prompted to opt-in or opt out of data sharing. While Facebook has other variables that can be used to identify devices, such as the associated email address and phone number, targeting that depends on users sharing their data at the device level is restricted based on this update.

 

2021: Machine Learning and User Control

 

In 2021, Facebook released new details about how the algorithm governing users’ Feeds works and increased the amount of control users have over what they see. 

 

  • Favorites: A new tool where users can control and prioritize posts in their Feeds from the friends and Pages they choose. By selecting up to 30 friends and Pages to include in Favorites, their posts will appear higher in ranked and can also be viewed as a separate filter.
  • Revealing the algorithm’s machine learning mechanics: In 2021, Facebook published an in-depth post explaining how the Feed predicts what users want to see. For the first time, it detailed the machine learning processes behind predicting what users see in their Feeds based on various factors, including what and whom they’ve followed, liked, or engaged with recently. These mechanics are largely still in place today.

 

Source: Facebook

 

2022: From ML to AI

 

Last year, the Facebook algorithm evolved further in the direction of user control and augmented its use of machine learning tools with more sophisticated artificial intelligence systems. These two updates went hand-in-hand. Users were given a new function on each post they saw, the “Show More/Show Less” feature. Selecting “Show More” would increase the ranking score for that post, increasing the likelihood of a similar post or a similar user appearing in the user’s Feed. The inverse would happen when “Show Less” is selected.

These per-post user inputs are simultaneously helping the AI system generalize how relevant future content will be for that user. Or as Facebook puts it, “by offering more ways to incorporate direct feedback into Feed ranking, we’re making our artificial intelligence systems smarter and more responsive.”

Facebook’s AI model generates what the company calls user and content embeddings, which help predict the types of content a person wants to see more of or less of in their Feed. Another Facebook blog post from 2022 explains that a “user embedding captures a person’s tastes, while the content embedding captures the essence of what a post is about.” 

One last update from 2022 – what was once called the Facebook News Feed is now just the “Feed.” That’s how we refer to it throughout this article, except where relevant due to historical discussion.

 

How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2023

 
That’s the state of the Facebook algorithm in 2023 – it has evolved to become an AI-powered, user-centric model designed to present users with relevant, welcome content in their Feeds. Even though Meta will admit that the algorithm isn’t perfect (and may never be), Facebook has demonstrated a willingness to modify its processes to give users what they want.

Despite the Facebook algorithm’s complexity and integration of new technologies like AI and machine learning, understanding its core functionality boils down to four ranking factors.

The Four Ranking Factors Fueling the Facebook Feed Algorithm

 
Prioritizing what “matters” to users has been one of the most consistent purposes of the Feed and all of its previous iterations. The goal of Facebook’s algorithm is to “show stories that matter to users,” according to Adam Mosseri, VP of Facebook’s News Feed Management. That aim is reflected across the platform’s many updates and tweaks to its algorithm, from more user control to increased personalization on advertisements. 

With that in mind, you should know how Facebook’s different algorithm factors work together to determine which stories “matter” to a user. And Facebook made these factors easy to understand in its published help center post.  
 

1. Inventory

 
Inventory represents the stock of all content that can display to a user on Facebook’s News Feed, which fluctuates based on user activity once scrolling has begun. This includes everything posted by friends and publishers.
 

2. Signals

 
Signals represent the information that Facebook can gather about a piece of content. Signals are the single factor that you have control over.

These are your inputs that Facebook interprets; type of content, the publisher, its age, purpose, and more.

You want your content to signal to Facebook that it’s meaningful and relevant to your target audience.
 

3. Predictions

 
Predictions represent a user’s behavior and how likely they are to engage with a content piece. Will a user watch a video to completion? Will they select the “Show More” feature on the post?

Predictions take authentic engagement like comments, likes, and shares from real profiles into account.
 

4. Relevancy Score

 
Relevancy Score is the final number assigned to a piece of content based on the likelihood that the user will respond positively to it. It also accounts for whether a post is “clickbait,” whether it links to a low-quality webpage, or if it’s misinformative in some way.
 

10 Best Practices for Working with Facebook’s Algorithm

 
So how can you tailor your content to ensure a high Relevancy Score and a strong enough ranking to appear in your target audience’s Feeds? Most of the following tips will be common sense if you currently produce content for social audiences, but many are specific to the sophisticated Facebook algorithm. 

Here are some guidelines and best practices for keeping your content meaningful in Facebook’s eyes, based on our research, Facebook’s recommendations, and Matt Navara and Paul Armstrong’s coverage of Facebook’s News Feed webinar
 

1. Keep posts relevant to your audience

 
Your content should always be relevant to your core audience — the people you want to build a community around. If your content is relevant to a user, the Facebook algorithm is likely to interpret that content as “meaningful,” a key consideration in ranking. 

Stories should be compelling enough for a user to want to share with family and friends. Content should be informative and interesting… and, of course, accurate. 

Products, education and lifestyle imagery, should reinforce your post’s meaningful and informative nature and build on your identity as a brand answering to a specific audience.

 

2. Engage readers and encourage interaction

 
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm favors content that fosters positive interactions between your followers and others.

Any piece of content, from products to education to entertainment — should provoke conversation. Remember that conversations can’t be one-sided; you want your audience to respond, but you must also respond to them when possible. 

You want your content to prompt people to stop their scroll, interact, and share. Interaction is a crucial weighting factor for the Facebook algorithm, so all your content should be tailored to maximize engagement.
 

3. But don’t use clickbait or engagement bait

 
 
Remember all those “like if…” and “share if you are…” posts?

This is considered engagement baiting; it doesn’t add value or interaction for users. It may not entirely be clickbait, but the Facebook algorithm will penalize it as though it were. 

Avoid asking people to “please comment, like, and share.” Your content should inspire them to engage without having to ask.

Facebook penalizes brands that encourage comments, likes, and shares on organic and ad posts. Keep this in mind when developing content for Instagram and Facebook.

 

4. Expand your post reach with employees and brand advocates

 

Because the Facebook algorithm gives preference to posts from users’ friends, families and the pages they interact with, your company’s Facebook page will have naturally limited reach. This is where enlisting employees and brand advocates can have a real impact. 

Facebook represents your widest audience, but to reach them, you need to engage the audience closest to home. Encouraging your work team to share your brand’s content with their networks broadens the reach of the post or piece of content and your brand. Directly engaging with Facebook users who are already devotees of your brand and asking them to share content with their friends and family can have a similar effect.,
 

5. Or put ad dollars behind content with organic momentum

 
 
The new Facebook algorithm values content that performs well organically, and you can build off that momentum by boosting or promoting that content with ad dollars.

Content that already has strong organic traction means lower CPCs which, combined with ad dollars, can act as a snowball effect for your content.

Identify opportunities for ads based on organic post engagement and tap into Facebook Ads Manager tools by leveraging these posts in ads.

Conversely, don’t waste ad dollars on poor-performing organic content. It will have higher CPCs and cost you more while offering less in return.

“If a post performs well with engagement, likes, and shares, there’s an opportunity to place additional ad dollars to drive that performance even further.”

— Nii Ahene, Chief Strategy Officer at Tinuiti
 
Portrait of Nii Ahene
 

6. Create compelling, original video content

 
 
2019 was the year that Facebook began leaning into its video offering in earnest, and it hasn’t stopped since. Today, the video formats available on Facebook have expanded to include Reels and Stories (shorter clips), Video on Demand and Live video. Reels, in particular, is Facebook’s fastest-growing content format “by far.” s video continues to be the top-performing content type across all social media networks, focusing on video should be a central part of your Facebook marketing strategy.

For your video content to perform best in the Feed, Facebook recommends that it be original, capture the audience’s attention, spark engagement, and inspire users to seek additional video content from the same source. 

To create original and authentic Reels, Stories and full-length videos, make sure they capture your brand’s voice and avoid duplicating content. To retain attention, ensure your creative and copy is optimized towards mobile viewing (i.e., shortened copy, readable overlays, shortened headlines). And to generate engagement, encourage discussion and genuine interactions (but like always, avoid engagement bait).

 

7. Inspire audiences and evoke emotion with storytelling

 

Just as videos should be original, engaging and attention-grabbing, so should any content you post on Facebook. Understand the kinds of stories that resonate with your audience and craft your posts to tell those stories in an exciting way.

You can create connections with your audience through authenticity, interactivity and accuracy. But the surest way is by listening. Ask for feedback. Learn their interests. Take cues from their activity on other platforms. When you know what your audience cares about, you have a better chance of inspiring them… and a better chance of rising to the top of their Feeds.

 

8. Post authentic and truthful content

 

Facebook says that “authentic stories are the ones that resonate most” and that users want to see accurate information. After the controversies surrounding “fake news” and the spread of dis- and misinformation on the platform in recent years, the company has made promoting truthful content central to the Facebook algorithm’s function. 

To signal that your content is genuine and accurate, write clear headlines free from exaggeration or sensationalism. Use well-sourced, reliable information, and avoid sharing content from sources you need clarification on. And above all, don’t lie or try to mislead with your content.

 

9. Schedule content when readers are likely to engage

 

The Facebook Feed is no longer chronological, but timing can still impact post performance within the algorithm. You want to post content when your audience is likely to engage with it, which is likely in the evening or overnight, but it can vary widely by the user. There is some research exploring the objectively ideal time for posting, but the ultimate best practice is understanding your audience and when they are most likely to be on the platform. 

 

10. Learn what works by tracking content performance

 

After you’ve published your content, remember to use Facebook Insights to track the performance of your content. This will help you understand how your different content pieces are performing in terms of engagement, which is the key ranking metric. 

Facebook also offers a variety of tools designed to help you measure both organic content and paid ads. Choose the best tools for your brand, and track performance regularly. Learn from your own Insights data and the tools you use, and optimize your content from there.

Final Takeaway

 
The Facebook algorithm is sophisticated and constantly evolving. There are few shortcuts and no way to “hack” it. But the steps outlined in this article can help make the algorithm work for you and help you get your content in front of the Facebook users who need to see it.

Want to work with our team of Facebook experts? Reach out today!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in April 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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