Understanding Facebook EdgeRank [INFOGRAPHIC]

PamDyer
Pam Dyer Marketing Maven, SolutionsIQ

Posted on May 6th 2013

Understanding Facebook EdgeRank [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

Give your posts a higher probability of appearing at the top of users’ News Feeds.

Understanding Facebook Edge Understanding Facebook EdgeRank [Infographics]The News Feed — in the center column of your home page — is a list of stories from the people and pages you follow on Facebook. Customized and continuously updated, it is designed to make the most out of the time you spend on the social network by serving up the information that’s the most meaningful to you. News Feed stories include likes, status updates, app activity, photos, videos, and links.

According to comScore, 40% of time on Facebook is spent on the News Feed. When a user logs in, there are normally many more posts than can fit in their “top news.” EdgeRank is an algorithm developed by Facebook that governs what is displayed — and how high — on the News Feed. Knowing how Facebook decides what shows up (and what doesn’t) in news feeds is key for digital marketers. If you can write posts with an eye toward the EdgeRank algorithm, they will have a higher probability of being displayed at the top of users’ “top news”.

 

What is an Edge?

Every piece of content in Facebook is called an Object (for our purposes here, think “post”), and each interaction with that content is called an Edge. Examples of Edges include status updates, comments, likes, and shares. Each Edge is comprised of Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay. Sounds pretty complicated, right? Stay with me and you’ll understand why it’s simple and effective — it’s very similar to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The EdgeRank algorithm

EdgeRank Algorithm Equation Understanding Facebook EdgeRank [Infographics]

EdgeRank is the sum of Edges. It looks at all of the Edges (actions on Facebook) that are connected to you and ranks them according to their importance to you. Objects (posts) with the highest EdgeRank typically appear at the top of the News Feed, although there’s a small amount of randomness.

What is Affinity?

Affinity is a one-way relationship between a user and an Edge. Think of it as a measure of the closeness between you and a brand. It looks at whether or not you’ve previously interacted with a post or whether your friends are engaging with it — actions taken into consideration include liking, sharing, commenting, and messaging.

What is Weight?

Weight is a system that increases or decreases the value of actions within Facebook. All Edges (Facebook actions) are assigned a value chosen by Facebook. Edges that take the most time to accomplish tend to weigh more — for example, commenting is more involved than simply liking a post, so it’s considered to be more valuable.

What is Time Decay?

Time Decay is the easiest of these variables to understand. It refers to how long the Edge has been alive — expressed mathematically, it is 1 ÷ (Time Since Action). The older an Edge is, the less value it has. This helps weed out old content and replace it with interesting new content.

Improve the EdgeRank of your posts

Here are some ways to get your posts to the top of Facebook’s News Feed:

1. Create and post more engaging content and post it often

Increase affinity for the people who like your Facebook page by posting content that appeals to them. Polls, questions, contests, and other interactive initiatives increase engagement. The more often you post, the less you’ll deal with post decay, which lowers content visibility.

2. Calls to action will encourage more people to like your page

facebook page evolution Understanding Facebook EdgeRank [Infographics]

Engagement increases with the size of your audience. Clear CTAs that raise interaction rates — sharing, liking, and commenting on your posts — improves the weight of that content. Post trivia questions and encourage people to answer by commenting on the posts, ask users to tag themselves in photos and like their favorites, etc.

3. Post links, photos, and videos frequently

Facebook pages that always include these have the best EdgeRank scores. Text-only posts don’t stand out or offer much opportunity for engagement. Adding links, photos, and videos to all of your posts increases visual interaction, making it more likely that users will view/watch, share, like, comment, and browse. This improves affinity and weight.

4. Avoid attracting Likers with low affinity

Contests that give away unrelated prizes attract many people who will never engage with your brand — they’re only liking your page to get the swag you’re giving away. Chances are that none of your messages will show up in their news feeds. If thousands of people like your page but only a few actually see your content, you’re not accomplishing your goal. It’s important to build an online community instead of going for the “low-hanging fruit” to increase the number of people who like your page, which creates an illusion of engagement.

5. Post consistently at strategic times

Post often — at least once a day — to decrease the time decay of your content. See my post, How to Improve Your Facebook Fan Engagement, for detailed analysis about the best times to post by industry. It includes a cheat sheet for effective wall post strategies.

EdgeRank Infographics

The good folks at PostRocket, makers of a News Feed optimization tool, created these infographics to help you better understand how EdgeRank works. Keep these great visualizations on hand as you work to improve the visibility of your posts.

Facebook EdgeRank Explained 1 infographic e1367774196842 Understanding Facebook EdgeRank [Infographics]Facebook EdgeRank Explained 1 infographic 2 Understanding Facebook EdgeRank [Infographics]

 

PamDyer

Pam Dyer

Marketing Maven, SolutionsIQ

I direct marketing initiatives at SolutionsIQ, a leading Agile services provider. My blog, Pamorama, is all about how organizations can optimize their online presence and branding with social media marketing. My goal is to help businesses understand how to use social networks to find leads, increase sales, and improve branding via digital marketing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and other social networks. Topics include blogging, inbound and content marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I'm featured in Forbes as a Top-50 Social Media Power Influencer and a Top-20 Woman Social Media Power Influencer. I’m very grateful to my audience for reading and sharing my content, and proud to be associated with the many impressive people who are also recognized.

Want to follow me elsewhere online? I’m most active on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. I have a lot of other social media profiles out there, but contacting me via LinkedIn will likely get the fastest response — and I’m always open to invitations to connect there, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

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Comments

segarde
Posted on May 6th 2013 at 5:38PM

Great article, Pam.  Very informative.  I wish I could find a tool that calculates EdgeRank at the post level -reliably.  It would be a great metric.

Marko Leus
Posted on May 9th 2013 at 5:18PM

 

Very interesting article, Pam, thank you.
The infographics by Postrocket are great.

Just one thing, though: Postrocket states that "27% of all time spent on FB is spent looking at the newsfeed“, whereas at the beginning of your article you also quote comScore, according to whom '40% of time on Facebook is spent on the News Feed.' Just for the record, which of both is right? Or should I say, the most recent one?

Thank you for enlightening even a little bit more.

Marko