I’m glad I waited with writing a post about Facebook’s Edgerank - the longer we live with this algorithm the more I see the way its introduction will change the way we use Facebook Pages and ultimately Social Media tools.
Let’s start with some basics though:
What is Edgerank?
Edgerank is used by Facebook to determine what posts a user gets to see.
A very good resource for the details is: whatisedgerank.com but here is a summary:
Edge: Everything that happens on Facebook - posts, likes, shares, comments….
Affinity: The relationship between the user and the update
Weight: Facebook assigned different values to each action. For example:
- A “comment” is worth more than a “like”
- A “share” is worth more than a comment
Time Decay: The older the update is on Facebook the smaller the edgerank is. Another very good reason to know when your users are looking at Facebook! (Learn about scheduling Facebook updates)
Edgerank = Affinity + Weight + Time Decay
Why did Facebook introduce Edgerank?
The competition on the Internet is fierce - Search Engines and Social Media tools are gaining more importance every day. That is the main reason for the many changes we experience every day. The better the experience with the tool the more we will use it and the higher its value.
At the same time, misunderstood “Social Media Marketing” is spoiling our experience with a huge wave of marketing messages - threatening to drown out the conversations between us and our friends that are at the heart of Social Media. So there are two answers to the question:
- Edgerank is designed to help us filter out the important updates (I’m leaving my comments about this for a different
- Edgerank serves Facebook’s stock holders by pushing marketers to pay for more exposure
Band-Aid solutions to beat Edgerank
All of us Facebook users have seen page owners more or less desperately to “game” or circumvent Edgerank. For example:
Asking fans to select “Show in Newsfeed”
This option is the default when you like a page - if it’s not selected your follower has effectively hidden your page. 2. if the the update doesn’t show in their feed, they won’t see the plea
Asking fans to enter the page in an “Interest List”
I think this is brilliant, except that your fan has to actively go to that feed to see that interest. It doesn’t address that your updates won’t go into the news stream.
Asking fans to select “Get Notifications”
This option is fairly new and I think it’s pretty cool - however, it comes with a huge responsibility to only create very valuable updates. If you don’t, your angry fans will turn the notifications off faster than you can say “sorry”
Right now Facebook is introducing the “Page Feed” This is probably an answer to all those complaints about the effect Edgerank has on the visibility of page updates. It’s too early to see the impact of this. If the “Page Feed” is just one big “Interest List” it has as much potential and danger as those. I see our page updates getting forgotten in a corner of Facebook like the old “Discussion” or “Notes”.
I hope that Facebook leaves page updates in the regular stream because otherwise the effect on community or low-budget pages would be disastrous.
No matter what we try - all these tricks are just crutches and whining that only 10% of our fans see our updates won’t help in the long run.
How Edgerank can make us all better:
Let’s go back to the Edgerank math: Edgerank = Σ U W D
The User is Our chance! The key to be seen on more Facebook walls is our ability to engage our fans. We have to learn to listen to those who trusted us by subscribing to our updates. Rather than paying for disruptive push-advertising like in the old days we have to find out what resonates with our audiences. We have to serve those that clicked “like.” We have to entertain, listen and react. The days of scheduling weeks of updates and forgetting about the interactions are over.
The main Edgerank factor you have influence over is the Affinity score!
Make sure you engage your fans and you will be a regular feature on their Facebook feed!
I bet that someone like George Takai with his brilliant use of Facebook doesn’t have to worry about the fact that only 10% of his fans will see his updates. He is engaging, funny, serious, honest and uses his Facebook super powers wisely.
By the way - there is an easy way to see how many people actually saw your update: After a while Facebook displays to the page-owner the number of people that saw your post under the updates. Of course a thorough look into Facebook Insights is always the best!
What are you doing to be seen on Facebook?
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5 replies added
Helpful compilation of edgerank info. I do remind my clients (and myself) that Facebook is a social network and therefore to be social. Talking with and not at people. Historically marketeers have proliferated and propagated the one way style. #SMM is still marketing, more helping than selling. Do you believe the reduction in organic reach is more about competition or changes in edgerank? I read today (on Marketingland) that the vast majority of page are Ghost towns (pages with >10 Likes). With 70% of all Page recording 0 posts during October of this year. This date point does begs the organic reach question again. Thoughts? Thanks for letting me comment.
Thanks for stopping by Urban! I see a lot of people misunderstanding Social Media Marketing and using largely traditional marketing principals. I agree that it's all marketing but we have evolve to understand the difference. IMHO the way we find reach is secondary - maybe viral reach is even more valuable in the long run because it means that I'm reaching my brand ambassadors. We could even go the way of the RSS feed where fewer people subscribe to our blogs and more find content through Social Media channels and curation tools. I look at a lot of "ghost towns" regularly and what frustrates me more is the ones with 5000 likes and virtually no interaction. Polished marketing messages are keeping people away rather than attracting interaction. We are in the midst of a Revolution so we need to see a marketing (R)evolution.
Like all major changes it will take time to understand how each of us will need to respond to EdgeRank. And it certainly puts the responsibility to get our followers and those that have "liked" our pages to continue to interact and engage with us or face not being there on their time line. And that means the days of posting and knowing that we were then out there on most of our followers time line are gone. If they don't continue to seek us out and keep our "affinity" rating high with them we're just not there. That's not an easy thing to achieve as there is much to draw the attention of those on FaceBook and so many calls for attention and interaction we've got to find a way to stand out and be noticed. Of course FaceBook is hoping we use the easy way out and just pay to get our posts and messages out there on our followers time lines. But that begs the question... Do we just want to be push advertisers?. I would hope not as to do so is to just bury your message in all the "background noise" that is always present in social media. And much as how we tune out those pesky TV ads they will tune us out and while posted our message is lost to our followers anyway. So that leaves us with our only answer and it's as you said... "Get your followers to engage and interact with your message!". That adds a whole new level to the use of FaceBook as a marketing/outreach medium. It's not possible to just throw things at our followers and expect enough to stick to their "walls" and be noticed for us to survive. We have to get them to "ask us" to be there... to reach out and use and or interact with who we are and what we do to even let our message have a chance to be seen. Of course that brings the plus side for the smaller sites and pages that I think is over looked. Now no one can just throw out stuff and get it posted to a time line... even the post of family are affected by this formula. But that means that the smaller more agile marketer with fewer followers/friends can through spending time building a true interactive and engaging relationship get their message out. And they can do it without spending money. They of course will have to spend the much more limited and precious commodity "time" but it will pay off big for those that do it. That means that once we get our mind around the change that EdgeRank makes to FaceBook and how we have to interact to survive I think that we'll find that rather than destroy the small business user of FaceBook it can empower them. We can with engagement buy what even money can't a "valued" place on our followers time line. For if there is less being posted there by other marketers our posts will stand out more. And since we now need a strong relationship and true engagement with our followers just to be there that message will be welcomed and looked for not treated as something to be scrolled by in passing.
Thank you Frank! A big part of why I enjoy being active on the Social Media scene is to experience all the changes and trends in this revolution. I'm glad I took the time to reflect on the impact Edgerank can have in the future and I'm looking forward to re-reading this post and your answer in one or two years to see where the world is at then.
Thanks for sharing your tips... This is really an eye opener for people who only thinks that there are only a couple of social media sites out there... It is very useful for everyone who rely on social media for their business...