Did you know that there is an invisible, silent force that determines your Facebook success, and that mastering this force can give you an advantage over your competitors?
That force is called EdgeRank, and we sat down with Taulbee Jackson, President and CEO of Raidious, one of the leading interactive marketing companies, to discuss how marketers can harness its power. We'll be devoting an entire hour to the subject during our webinar with him next week: EdgeRank Ninjutsu: How to Optimize Content for EdgeRank Success.
Why should marketers understand EdgeRank?
Lots of brands have invested heavily in developing audiences on Facebook - using not just technology and tools but also allocating human resources to the task. Although brands are producing content in an effort to engage with their Facebook fans, it is ultimately the EdgeRank algorithm that determines whether this content gets displayed to fans. Many companies end up spending time and money to develop their audience, but in reality only reaching a small percentage of them. Understanding EdgeRank can equip marketers with the critical insights to help them get more fans and keep them engaged over time. The long-term implications of EdgeRank are also important, particularly if a brand is integrating Facebook functionality into their site. We think EdgeRank can have more profound long-term ramifications than the Google algorithm for many marketers.
What was the most surprising fact about EdgeRank you discovered when researching for this webinar?
The brilliance of EdgeRank and its targeting sophistication compared to that of other algorithms such as Google's was surprising. Facebook uses a lot more and richer data than Google, analyzing and understanding relationships between key data points, which enables it to expose what's really valuable for and relevant to its users. I was surprised to see how much Facebook cares about content quality and user engagement. They have gone to great lengths to make sure their users are not just seeing the content they know they want, but also offering content they may be interested, but didn't know they wanted. This says a lot about Facebook's commitment to its users. It also points to Facebook's enormous potential to monetize their growing membership.
Google is more forward with the public when they make changes to their algorithm, while Facebook hardly every talks about EdgeRank. Why do you think that is?
Google's algorithm has been around a lot longer, and entire industries have sprung up around understanding and utilizing that algorithm. Google is not more transparent with their algorithm, it's just that there are lot more SEO people monitoring it closely and sharing their insights. And because there are a lot more people focused on manipulating Google search, they have caught Google's attention and made it important for the company to help these people understand what Google is aiming to accomplish. Google is focused on providing the best search results possible, and by sharing information about their updates, they help website publishers navigate these changes.
What are some tactics you have implemented with clients to specifically improve EdgeRank?
We have tested timing of posts and formats. As a result we have shifting our content approach to be more oriented towards rich media formats, which has been very successful for our clients. Proactively engaging communities and empowering fans to create and share their own content have also proven to be effective. The most important "tactic" for Raidious has always been treating marketing as a science experiment - test and optimize, then test and optimize some more, regardless of whether it is Facebook, email, Twitter, or blogposts. If you're not constantly trying new things, you won't know if you can do better.
What do you see for the future of EdgeRank?
As marketers begin to see the profound potential of the Facebook data - and the data-driven impact Facebook can have for brands, marketers will start pulling more of the Facebook data insights into their owned media properties - such as websites, mobile apps, blogs, etc. Equipped with new access to rich, meaningful user data, marketers will be able to offer deeply personalized user experiences. Facebook profiles will start to replace your email inbox, as it becomes your "key to the Internet". Facebook is getting closer to achieving the data-driven marketer's dream - capturing deep user preference insights that will empower marketers to connect products with both the known and unrealized needs of their target audience. Our company is one of the first of many that will focus on EdgeRank optimization as a core user engagement function, and we anticipate a new EdgeRank industry springing up similarly to the way the SEO industry has evolved.
For more insights from Taulbee Jackson, be sure to attend our free Awareness webinar on Wednesday, January 25, at 2 pm EST: EdgeRank Ninjutsu: How to Optimize Content for EdgeRank Success.