A guide to social media algorithms then how they work

Many marketers ask, “How do social media algorithms work?” Because major platforms’ algorithms can change quickly.

But marketers should also keep asking themselves, “Which social media platforms have the most users?” Because this data can frequently change, too.

So here are the latest replies to the first query about algorithms for the eight platforms to consider today.

Spoiler alert: This update includes surprising changes to the latest data on SimilarWeb’s monthly unique visitors, visits, and average monthly visit length.

How does the YouTube algorithm work?

YouTube had 1.953 billion unique visitors worldwide as of May 2022. The platform received 35.083 billion monthly views with an average visit duration of 21:41.

Some social media marketers may be surprised that YouTube is ahead of Facebook.

However, SimilarWeb’s above data only applies to desktop and mobile web channels. It does not include data for connected TVs, which became the fastest growing display among YouTube viewers in 2020.

Therefore, it is essential to know how YouTube’s algorithm works.

YouTube’s algorithm tries to match viewers with the most likely videos to watch and enjoy. But with over 500 hours of video pleased uploaded every minute, it’s a Herculean task.

YouTube’s search and discovery systems address this challenge by paying close attention to:

  • What viewers see.
  • What they don’t see.
  • How much time do they devote to viewing?
  • What do they portion then like?

Next, you need to learn that YouTube eats several algorithms, counting ones for:

  • YouTube Search: Videos are ranked founded on how well titles, descriptions, and content match the viewer’s search and which videos receive the most engagement for a search.
  • Up Next: Suggested videos are ranked based on machine learning’s understanding of which videos viewers will most likely watch next. These videos are frequently related to the video a viewer is watching, but they can also be personalized based on the viewer’s viewing history.
  • Your homepage: Videos are selected founded on how often viewers watch a channel or topic, how many similar videos have interested and satisfied similar viewers, and the number of times YouTube has already shown each audiovisual to a watcher.
  • YouTube Shorts: YouTube needs both short and long videocassettes to be successful. Therefore, relative watch time is generally more important for short videos, while absolute watch time is generally more important for longer videos.

So what should you do next?

First, read my How to Optimize YouTube Videos to Help Ukraine column for tips on keyword research, title optimization, description creation, custom thumbnails, and other video SEO best practices.

Deliver Jon Clark’s article 13 Key Elements of Effective YouTube Videos below. It focuses on how to make a great video.

Why is that important? Because YouTube’s search and recognition system “finds” videos for each viewer and their different interests, they watch more videos they like and return to YouTube regularly.

How does the Facebook algorithm work?

Facebook saw just 1.62 billion unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform saw 19.739 million visits this month, with an average session length of 10:05.

Now, Facebook’s February 2022 unique visitors started popping up around the world.

But as you see in the graph lower, there was a significant drop in unique visitors to Russia in early March after Russia blocked Facebook to control the spread of information about the invasion of Ukraine.

This negatively impacted the total number of unique visitors to Facebook worldwide, which was already losing momentum. However, the platform is still too big to ignore.

How does the Twitter algorithm work?

Twitter had 979 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform saw 7.056 million visits this month, with an average session length of 10.39.

This data does not detect fake accounts or spam. However, it is worth investing the time and effort to keep up with how the Twitter algorithm works.

Like most social media platforms, Twitter has many algorithms.

Twitter says its “algorithmic launch timeline displays a sequence of tweets from the accounts you choose to follow on Twitter, along with recommendations for other content that we think you may be interested in based on the accounts you’re using.” How often you interact, the tweets you participate in, and more.”

If users want, they can click the star icon to see the latest tweets as they occur. But insufficient people choose to drink water from a fire hose.

If they choose, users can click Explore and view trending tweets or tweets related to COVID-19, news, sports and entertainment.

Users can click “More” to view topics they think Twitter might be attentive to.

Like most social media platforms, Twitter’s procedures use machine learning to rank content based on various position signals.


And it’s worth noting that Twitter is currently involved in analyzing the results of its algorithms as part of its Responsible Machine Learning Initiative.

How does the Reddit algorithm work?

Reddit had 237 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform saw 1.669 million visits this month, with an average session length of 09:59.

With Facebook targeting videos to regain momentum, this is a great time to learn how Reddit’s algorithm works.

In June 2021, the official Reddit blog published Evolving the Best Sort for Reddit’s Home Feed. It showed how Reddit decides which relevant posts to show users.

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