Published On: Sat, Oct 1st, 2011

5 Things You Need to Know About Facebook EdgeRank

Everyone has heard of Facebook, most recognise the potential business benefits, but few understand EdgeRank – and more importantly, how it can be leveraged to ensure people see your content.

EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to determine what activity appears in people’s news feed. It works on the premise that every Facebook interaction which creates a piece of content is an Edge, such as a status update, Like or photo. Facebook mixes this information with its EdgeRank algorithm and hey presto, comes up with your news feed.

The higher the EdgeRank the greater the chance it will appear in a news feed. But it’s not quite as simple as that. Different pieces of content have more Weight. For instance commenting on an image gets a higher EdgeRank than Liking a status update, as it is a deeper level of engagement on a richer piece of content.

Also, just because someone has Liked your brand page, doesn’t mean its activity will appear in their news feed. This is because Facebook intelligently displays what content is most relevant to each person. The top brains at Facebook who devised EdgeRank say the algorithm is made up of three criteria and this has to be front of mind when planning content:

  • Affinity: Think of this as the relationship between the content creator and the person viewing it. The more a person comments on, Likes or interacts with the content creator’s post, the greater the Affinity score.
  • Weight: This represents how popular a post is defined by the number of comments or Likes. Remember comments have more Weight than Likes.
  • Recency: Content older than 48 hours is unlikely to continue appearing in news feeds. Marketeers need to produce content at the optimum time for the fans to avoid time decay.

I’ve been playing around with EdgeRank and come up with these five tips to ensure your content gains more visibility on Facebook:

1. Focus on increasing Affinity to begin with
For content to appear in people’s news feeds you need to strengthen the Affinity between your brand page and the fan – continually. The best way to achieve this is by creating compelling content that people will want to comment on and Like.
Tip – according to Buddy Media questions with the words ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘would’ drive the most Affinity.

2. Find out when your fans are on Facebook and then post regularly
Content has a lifespan of 48 hours, so working out when your fans are logging in is crucial. Use Facebook Insights to understand where your fans are from and then experiment by pushing out content at different times to see when you get the highest levels of interaction. Then to maintain Recency and continue appearing in news feeds, content needs to be published frequently.

3. Status updates must include videos, photos or links
Video and photo content has the most Weight, so are more likely to appear in news feeds. Your content strategy should clearly reflect this weighting. The added bonus is that video and photo content is often commented on and Liked, leading to greater Affinity. Whilst, video is expensive to produce, photos are not and part of your budget should be dedicated to sourcing appropriate images.
Tip – forget about status updates on their own. Instead use them in conjunction with a link, image or video, preferably either of the latter.

4. Aim for comments over Likes
This might be controversial, but we should be creating content that drives comments over Likes. Both are obviously preferable to nothing, and whilst Likes are great in that they act as an explicit endorsement, comments represent a deeper level of engagement and have more Weight.

5. Interact with fan comments
Engaging with fans should already be a large part of your community management, but to ensure content continues appearing in news feeds, respond to every comment and where possible ask questions to generate further comments and Likes. Remember longer threads have greater Weight and engaging with fans will increase Affinity.

About the Author

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Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at Ben-Cotton.com and Chief Quaffer at CraftySwine.org .

Displaying 5 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Emma says:

    Very useful cheers Ben!

  2. Ben Cotton says:

    No probs, Emma – glad you found the post useful!

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