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:
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.
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.
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.
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: