The Marketers Guide to Facebook EdgeRank

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I’ll admit it; I’m one of those guys who often doesn’t bother reading instruction booklets when I buy a new piece of technology. I’ve never read a ‘how to’ guide for my TV, DVD player, computer, phone, tablet, microwave – none of it. Usually, I fumble around with it until I’ve figured it out enough to use it comfortably.

I think the main reason is because operating a microwave isn’t a competitive task. I don’t have to be the very best at turning on my TV. Someone isn’t relying on me to know how to use every button on my DVD player remote.

People do however rely on me to be the best possible at what I do for work (digital marketing). They need to know I’ve read the ‘instruction manual’ and figured out exactly how to use all the features to get them the best possible result for their social media campaign or search marketing efforts.

I, like the many other digital marketing professionals, get paid to be on top of my game for them. Part of that includes knowing how platforms like Facebook work. Sure I could just poke around and try and get a ‘good enough’ understanding of it, but to truly be an effective marketer I need to know EXACTLY how it works and how to use every feature of it.

Which brings me to this:

EdgeRank Algoritm


This is how Facebook works

What the hell does that thing mean?

Edges are the interactions that occur on Facebook. When you like, share, comment, or hide something within the Facebook ecosystem, the EdgeRank algorithm takes the information you’ve provided and then uses it to dictate how important it is to a certain group of people.

The EdgeRank algorithm is made up of three core metrics – Affinity, Weight and Decay. The higher the metrics are for each of these, the more likely your page, post or information will be seen by a larger audience.

Facebook Edgerank - AffinityAffinity

Affinity is the term given to how closely related the viewer is to the Edge creator.

Real life example:
Ever noticed how you don’t see many updates in your stream from that dude you met while backpacking 3 years ago, yet you see every single status update about how your brother is doing up his car? This is because Facebook has recognized that you actually actively participate with your brothers Facebook account, yet have very little interaction from your European backpacker friend. It’s decided that one persons Facebook activity should be prioritised over another persons.

 

Edgerank WeightWeight

Weight is the term given to the value of each Edge you interact with. Certain interactions are more valuable to your EdgeRank than others.

Real life example:
Posting a photo on Facebook that receives 20 likes, 10 comments and 2 shares is more valuable to your EdgeRank than sharing a textual status update that receives the same interactions. More weight is given to image shares than status updates. The most Weight of all Facebook interactions is given to Videos (particularly ones uploaded to Facebook’s video player), Photos and Links. The Weight metric also takes into account user trends. For example a user who often interacts with photos more than status updates or videos is more likely to see photos show up in their newsfeed stream.

Deacy - EdgerankDecay

Decay – as you’ve probably guessed – relates to the age of the Edge. The older an Edge interaction is, the less likely it is to influence the EdgeRank.

Real life example:
A photo you added today is more likely top appear in people’s newsfeed than a photo you added 2 weeks earlier. By sorting your newsfeed chronologically (most recent), this rule will apply by default but when sorting your feed by ‘Top Stories’, the Decay metric will become more evident. The newer the post, the more likely it will appear in your followers newsfeed.

 

How Can You Increase Your EdgeRank?

  • For the love of all things beautiful – STOP BUYING FAKE FACEBOOK LIKES! – It’s contaminating your true EdgeRank. Influencing those 2000 people in India isn’t gonna help your cause. It’s about Affinity, remember!
  • Got a big product release coming up? About to launch a huge competition? Be sure you build up your affinity metric for a few weeks prior. Get your customers/viewers interacting with you. Facebook Ads (with a strong call to action) are a good way of getting your Affinity metric up.
  • Ask questions of your users. Get a conversation happening. Questions promote comments and likes, which result in greater Affinity.
  • Trial different types of media to see what resonates best with your followers. Remember, certain media types hold more Weight than others – photos, videos and links are much more valuable than plain ol’ text.
  • Finding that ‘sweet-spot’ to post is crucial to your post’s success. You want to make sure you are posting when Edge interactions occur most. Test to find out when your users are most likely to be interacting with Facebook. This will reduce the time decay of your post while also giving it a good chance of increasing Newsfeed views. For example: If your target audience is teenagers – they are most likely to interact in the hour prior to school and the 4 hours post school hours. Post your content in those hours, that’s where your audience is likely to be.
  • Don’t measure success purely on the amount of ‘Likes’ you have. Influence, exposure and interaction are far more important and is where social success truly lies. You may have a smaller audience, but if they are more engaged then they are more valuable. (refer to point #1)

Posting to Facebook (from a marketing point of view) should be more than just putting something up just for the sake of it. It needs strategy to be consistently effective. Get to know how you can use the EdgeRank algorithm to make your Facebook activity as successful as it can possibly be. Not only will it make your posts and activity more effective, it will also help you understand your audience and their needs a lot better.

Further Reading about utilising Facebook EdgeRank:

 

9 Responses

  1. MegansBeadedDesigns

    January 9, 2013 4:41 AM

    In my experience with posting a variety of the types of updates listed here, plain’ ol text status tend to get the most exposure. I have a little over 800 fans for my page,and the break down tends to be like this:

    Plain text updates – seen by 300 people
    Photo – 250
    Video – 150-200
    Link – 20-50

    If there is a link in the update, regardless of where the link leads, the post is only going to be seen by my most interactive fans.

  2. Mouad Khateb

    January 16, 2013 9:33 PM

    Hi Daylan, thanks for the tips.
    You said, that videos (uploaded on FB), images, and links , enjoy more exposure in general than text.
    I found it different though. I found that links are the poorest in terms of exposure, and that status updates are seen by much more people than links, or even shared images. But not on pages !!
    Inded, in pages, images might be the best, but not in personal profiles.
    What do you say ?

  3. Chandra

    February 19, 2013 12:12 PM

    Hi Dylan,

    This has been really helpful as I’ve only just started by fb page. Quick question do If i post an image with a status post/comment are the likes, shares enough affinity or would me commenting in the feed increase it more?

    Sorry if it’s a silly question. Still getting my head around it! Any advice appreciated.

    Cheers!!

    • Daylan Pearce

      February 19, 2013 12:59 PM

      Hi Chandra,
      Not a stupid question at all.
      Any interaction adds to the infinity.
      For example: One comment on a post from a certain account suggests to Facebook you have at least minimal interaction with that account. If you share, comment, like multiple posts from that account you affinity increases. The more interaction that greater the metric.
      Similarly, if you block posts from an account – it detracts form your affinity with that account.
      Thanks for reading, and good luck.

  4. Fenny

    February 23, 2013 8:36 PM

    Any comments about the dreadful “Suggested posts” or “sponsored posts” that spam our newsfeed on a daily basis? These are not proper updates, they are just adverts that FB puts into the newsfeed instead of on the side of the page. Users hate them and usually leave comments to say as much. Should we hide them or report them as spam to get the edge rank down?

    I get that companies pay to advertise, but when these things take over the newsfeed, especially on a mobile device, then we’re using up our data allowance to be spammed by companies we’ve never liked and have no link to just because we fall within the desired demographics of the advertiser. Even contacting the advertiser has no effect, because they don’t have any control over where these ads appear. One company messaged me and threatened to have me banned from FB for commenting that I didn’t want it in my timeline.

  5. Alexis

    March 1, 2013 11:47 AM

    Nice clear post! And also – am new to your site but LOVE the cartoons on your pictures! I would give my eye teeth for even a drop of artistic talent to personalize my site like that. *sigh* Anyhoo…

    What about posting things that don’t get a good response (likes, comments, shares)? Does that HURT my edgerank? I know that asking questions get’s a huge response from my fans. I know that offering free services gets a huge response from my fans. Posting blog posts (which frankly is the real reason I care about FB page isn’t it?) get’s a smaller response – maybe only 65% of what I would see if I asked a question. Is that hurting my edgerank? I get confused sometimes because I want a good edgerank but I also really only exist on FB to help drive site traffic so I get mixed up about which one I should be most worried about and how they impact each other.

    • Daylan Pearce

      March 1, 2013 12:07 PM

      Hey Alexis,
      Try not to think of EdgeRank as a score – try see it as an interaction guide. Imagine each interaction had a score assigned to the page/account you were interacting with. The more points you have for each account, the greater your edges are between you and the account.
      It’s all baby steps, until one day you might get a big hit and something goes viral.
      I’d recommend keeping track of what works best – kind of like A/B testing. If ‘this’ works, but ‘that’ doesn’t – then try ‘this’ again and build of that data. Timings of posts I found to be quite important as well as Open Graph implementation.
      You should look into LinkedIn groups and Google Plus communities to increase engagement too. Those are great for reaching targeted audience.
      Good luck and thanks for reading.