Understanding Facebook means understanding EdgeRank
Andrew Adashek, Social Strategist — Dominion Social Ventures
November 26, 2012
Filed under Service Providers
Understanding “EdgeRank,” the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what content is displayed and to whom, is a critical component of designing effective campaigns that will drive more engagement with your customers.
With more than 1 billion users, and 550 million active daily, there is a tremendous amount of conversation taking place on Facebook. By some estimates, there are as many as 700,000 status updates occurring every minute! To make sense of all of this traffic, Facebook relies on its EdgeRank algorithm. EdgeRank analyzes potential messages and assesses whether they should be displayed to each user based on three main factors: “Affinity” between the user viewing the message and the brand, “Weight” or quality of the message being sent, and the “Time Factor” associated with the message.
Affinity: In the EdgeRank algorithm, “Affinity” quantifies the relationship between a brand and a fan, and works to increase the likelihood that relevant messages will show up in the timeline of the fan. This Affinity rating is determined by ongoing and repeat interactions between the two parties, including liking, commenting, sharing, or even clicking on shared links.
What this means for brands is that it is critical that you build your Affinity rating by providing enticing opportunities for your fans to interact with you. Posting relevant and interesting updates, communicating with fans that visit your page, asking questions that are likely to generate conversation, or even creating easily shared content are all ways to increase your Affinity score.
Weight: While Facebook analyzes every action that takes place on its platform, some are assigned a higher “Weight” than others, and as such are more likely to appear in a fan’s news feed. The simplest and most basic interaction is when a fan likes a brand. This action is important, but is deemed less valuable than more involved actions such as commenting or sharing, and as such, is Weighted less.
To maximize the Weight of your brand’s actions on Facebook, create content that naturally is of higher value such as photo or video updates, and ask your fans to share, comment, or reply to your posts. Posts that generate these actions are more heavily Weighted and therefore more likely to show up in the news feed, thus starting a virtuous cycle of sharing, commenting and replies.
Time Factor: Perhaps the easiest to understand component of EdgeRank is the “Time Factor” variable of the equation. Simply put, as time passes, actions on Facebook lose some of their value. This assures Facebook users that they are being fed a steady stream of relevant content, but also demands consistent and regular updates and activity on the part of the brand.
What this does not mean is that you should post a never-ending torrent of frivolous content, but instead suggests that you should be creating a steady stream of posts to keep the conversation fresh. Look for highlights in the industry, special events, or interesting articles to share regularly.
Andrew Adashek is a social strategist with Dominion Social Ventures.