In the first of a series of blog posts looking into some of the improvements Facebook makes to its news feed, the social network announced that it has updated the ranking algorithm for stories.

Facebook has started promoting older stories that continue to attract large volumes of likes and comments, which will help brand page owners. It hopes that people who fail to navigate far enough down their news feed will now see these popular posts.

Tests by the social network on a small group of users with this news feed update enabled showed likes, comments and shares on the organic stories they saw from pages rise by 8%.

Before the update, users read on average 57% of the stories in their news feeds and did not scroll enough to see the rest. By resurrecting these unread stories, read stories increased to 70%.

Sponsored Content Unaffected

Even if a brand’s page posts are few hours old, there’s a higher chance of them appearing on a user’s feed. The social network did say that the appearance of advertisers’ paid content in news feeds will be unaffected.

Ari Rosenstein, vice president of marketing for Adotomi, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD), believes that even with these improvements, brands would be better off with newsfeed advertisements than relying the organic ranking of regular posts.

“For advertisers they should look to focus more on ads in the newsfeed and less on page posts to Fans as ads will allow for better targeting, larger reach, and the ability to better control the duration of the message,” said Rosenstein.

Adotomi has done its own research into news feed ads and found that click through rates are 15-20 times higher than ads that appear on the right side of Facebook. Its data also showed conversions to be 42% higher than the ads on the right.