Jul 31 2012

Game Facebook EdgeRank through Newsfeed Optimization or “Edging”

AnnexCore

If you’re starting a Facebook Page for your business, and read a little bit how it works you’ll come across something called “Facebook EdgeRank.” This is what the post will aim to explain, and provide tips how to optimize your posts for the algorithm. We’ll aim to explain Facebook EdgeRank as concisely as possible to save you precious reading time, and help you get on your way to creating viral posts.

What is EdgeRank and Why did Mark Make it?
If you’ve used Facebook you’re familiar with what the newsfeed is, if not, it’s basically a storyboard filled from each of our connections (ex: people, pages, events, groups, etc…). This typically leads to 500-750 stories create daily through your connection within your social graph. Yes, that is a lot of stuff to read to get to important pieces you would want to read, which is why EdgeRank was implemented.

Each story has a different relevance, because some maybe from your best friend, while others will be from someone you briefly met at a conference, party, or train ride. These can be bombardments, if these connections decide to post every minute, annoying you and wasting your time. This is part of the reason behind Facebook’s success has been their ability to understand this problem, and create solutions to present you only the most relevant and important items in your newsfeed.  As a student of Psychology, and an innate sociologist, Mark Zuckerberg made Facebook socially interactive. By having the features to “like”, “comment”, or share anything from the web, results in the user constantly coming back to the website. This is what EdgeRank sets out to accomplish, it determines which stories are displayed and in what order by calculating its significance through 3 main metrics covered below.

Diving further into EdgeRank
Facebook EdgeRank is very similar to Google’s billion dollar secret sauce “PageRank”, which shows the most relevant thing to the user. Facebook actually took this one step further, and shared what factors are involved in the algorithm. This led social media marketers and data analyst out of the dark, and enhanced their ability to have content viewed by as many of their fans as possible through Newsfeed Optimization, or as we refer to it “Edging”.

Ranking every story, or edge, allows Facebook to present the edges descending, from highest scored to lowest. Just to make sure some important edges weren’t absent, they’ve created the Ticker which shows new stories briefly.

Now lets distill EdgeRank further. It’s made up of three pieces affinity, weight, and time decay.

Affinity
Affinity calculates the strength of “friendliness” between a connection and a user. It does by tracking every engagement you have with facebook, from any add, like, or comment. They don’t stop there, they also capture every video play, photo view, and profile browse.

The one other thing about it is that affinity is one-way. The score is different for each person and each of their individual connections. So spying on an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend will make their stories appear more on your news feed, but not influence your stories appearance on theirs. Although, when you start commenting and liking a post, that will change the EdgeRank score, and that will lead to you appearing more on their news feeds.

The quickest way to get an idea of who you have the highest affinity to, is by looking in your chat bar. People, even if their offline, will show up at the top versus ones with the lowest are at the bottom.

Weight
Weight is the value that is placed behind a story. Each type of story will have a different weight, so a “like” will hold less value then a “comment” on the same post. This is a big optimizing opportunity, choosing posts that your page posts.

In Facebook marketing, the idea is to reach as many of your fans with a post, allowing you to potentially engage more of them, and possibly exerting influence on them. Deciding what type of a post you’ll put out there will ultimately determine the weight of your edge, and be the deciding factor in how many fans see it.

The three types of content that have the highest Edge weight are Videos, Photos, and Links. Knowing this you should incorporate these into your posts to reach the most users. Although, you’ll have to understand which types of posts your user base prefers as well.

Weight can accumulate, meaning that a lot of engagement through likes and comments will increase the weight of the original Edge. Structuring posts that encourages discussion will appear on more newsfeeds.

Time Decay
This may the most straight forward one. That posts are very temporal nature of content, which simply means that newer stories are more likely to appear than something old.

Timing your posts may mean more visibility. Meaning if you post when other people are less likely to be posting, you may reduce the competition for spots in the newsfeed.

Newsfeed Optimization or “Edging” Ideas

  • Start a debate about some a subject that become positional quickly.
  • Use engaging words like: Where, When, Why, and Who.
  • Engage through questions
  • Release a series of photographs on your facility, personnel, etc…
  • Research the time when your fans are most active, and post during those times.
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