“So, you guys know what edge rank is, right?”
4 hands of 30 go up. This is an “advanced” social media class.
“Really, well, how do you know if you’re doing the right things right on Facebook so that your posts are visible to your fans?” Silence.
“OK, how many of you have seen the post/rumor floating around Facebook that goes something like this:”
Facebook is now requiring page owners (us) to pay to have their status updates read by every subscriber. If we don’t, status updates only show up in less than 10% of news feeds, even though you have “liked” the page indicating you want to see posts from this page. However, there is a way around it! Hover over the button on this page where it says “Like” and then make sure you are check marked to “show in news feed” if you want to get all the updates from us. Thanks!
Of course, many of them had seen or heard of that. That’s unfortunate (and the whole thing is total nonsense to boot). Rumor and speculation is more prevalent than facts, knowledge and real understanding of how Facebook works. Well, let’s dispel some myths and do some homework…
So, What is EdgeRank?
The way that I explain Edge Rank is like this: “Just as Google’s Page Rank is a ‘black box’ of factors that contribute to your website’s visibility in search results, EdgeRank is Facebook’s ‘black box’ that contributes to how well your posts show up in your Fans’ newsfeeds. Of course, there’s more to it than that.
First, the Facebook news feed is now the most effective way to reach fans. Since Facebook rolled out timeline this year and we no longer have the option of doing clever things like welcome pages and users have really become glued to the timeline format, we need to “meet them where they’re at.” In fact, according to research from BrandGlue and others, we know that 96% of fans never revisit fan pages after they’ve become a fan. More to the point, for every 200 comments on a status update, 190 of them come from the Newsfeed with only 10 coming from the fan page itself. That leaves marketers with the task of pursuing News Feed Optimization as their #1 goal on Facebook insofar as reach, impressions and engagement are concerned.
That said, EdgeRank is not actually all that sophisticated, as far as marketing algorithms go. There are only three major factors that contribute to EdgeRank: Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.
What is an Edge?
In order to rank an edge, we need understand what an edge is first. “Edge” is effectively any interaction within Facebook. This includes status updates, comments, likes and shares, uploading a photo, making changes to your relationship status etc.
Affinity is the strength of the relationship between a user and one of their connections. Facebook tracks everything related to your interactions. Simply put, likes, comments, posts, and shares; in addition to, the link clicks, video plays, photo views, and profile browsing, can all effect the affinity ranking. The more you interact with a post or page, the higher the affinity ranking you have for that page. The higher the ranking, the more likely that posts from that page will show up in your news feed. Keep in mind that just because you have a high affinity ranking for someone’s page, doesn’t mean that they have the same affinity ranking for your page. You might get all of their posts, while they might get none of yours. That is why it is critical to keep your fans engaged by providing value, and posting on a regular basis, because even if they read every post you write, if the post isn’t stimulating enough for them to either ”Like” or “Comment” on it then it does nothing for the affinity score.
How to improve Affinity: Since you can’t control the actions of other users over time, the top tip here is to be consistent with your content and mix it up. Consistency over time helps to improve affinity.
Weight is determined by the type of object, such as a photo/video/link/etc. and also the type of action taken on that object. For example, a “like” is worth less than a “comment.” As more and more people “Like” or “Comment” on a post the weight increases for that post. Post Weight plays a large role in determining how many of your fans will see it in their news feeds and in which order (for those that are using the Text-only posts have less weight than a post with a video, photo, or link. It’s not a coincidence that Coca-Cola has over 13,000 photos on Facebook.
The amount of weight given to interactions is ranked in the following order:
Share > Comment > Like > Click
Content weight is prioritized in the following order:
Videos > Photos > Status Updates > Links
How to improve Post Weight: The top tip here is simple: use more photos! We know from dozens of studies on Facebook engagement that photos are the most important content for posts.
The last variable is Time Decay, as an object gets older, the lower the value it has in Facebook. Time decay means that something newer is more likely to appear than something older. Google, here again like Facebook, places a high premium on the freshness of the content. Newer content and interactions hold more importance and have a higher likelihood of being published in news feeds. The “decay” of a post forces it down further in the news feeds. It is all about new, and relevant.
5 Tips to Improve Your EdgeRank
1. Build a consistent editorial calendar
I can’t stress this enough – do not wing your content. Once you understand what your fans are looking for, your editorial calendar is the key to successfully engaging day in and day out (and ideally, 7 days a week). This, above all else, will help to improve the EdgeRank over time (and maybe even very quickly, depending on how good your content is).
2. Invite them to interact
Simply asking for interaction, asking for the like, asking for the comment, suggesting a share or seeking clicks or feedback are great simple ways to invite the kind of engagement that helps to add weight to your posts.
3. Spark a debate, invite engagement
Asking engaging questions that ignite debate and dialogue is the best way to keep posts showing up in feeds longer. To improve Affinity with your ‘fans’, it is essential for there to be two way engagement. Start a petition, work for a cause, take on a hot-button issue and otherwise get your fans riled up and chatting about your content.
4. Post lots of multimedia – photos and videos
Images are the most interacted with item on Facebook and they hold significant weight as post content. We encourage clients to include multimedia with every single Facebook post.
5. Watch your timing
Since Time Decay is one of the 3 pieces of the EdgeRank puzzle, you need to understand when your audience is engaged and post at the appropriate times. The geography of your audience matters as well insofar as their time zones are concerned. Pay close attention to emerging studies on social media engagement times, especially the engagement that happens in the evening and weekends.
Make no mistake, social media is a fun and engaging way to market, but it’s both science and art and the science part of it, along the lines of things like EdgeRank, is where marketers are really applying leverage. Get up to speed on the science of social media and Facebook and use it to leapfrog your competition.