An Introduction To The Facebook Algorithm: EdgeRank

Posted 16/09/2011

Getting into peoples Facebook News Feeds

If you are using Facebook as part of your Internet Marketing Strategy or even if you use Facebook personally you will be aware of the News Feed that greets you when you sign in. What you may not know is that the news that appears there is not as random as you might suspect.

Using EdgeRank to get in Facebook News Feeds

The Facebook News Feed is the first thing that users are going to see when they log into their Facebook accounts and you are presented with two options (you may not have even spotted that!) – ‘Top News’ and ‘Most Recent’. ‘Top News’ is shown by default and this is the feed that is decided by what is known as EdgeRank. If you are seriously considering using Facebook as a part of your Internet Marketing strategy you need to know what it is and how you can utilise it for your business.

Top News is decided by Facebooks EdgeRank

What makes up the EdgeRank algorithm?

Affinity

This score is created by how often a user engages in some some form of ‘friendliness’ with another user. The thinking behind this is that the more you interact with specific people people on Facebook the more likely you are to want to see their updates. It is incredibly easy to see this in action – over the course of a couple of weeks spend some time interacting with someone on Facebook that has not received too much of your time recently and you can see Affinity work as they make more regular appearances in your ‘Top News’ section.

Edge Weight

The ‘Edge’ within the algorithm is when some interacts with an ‘Object’ that has shown up in their News Feed. The fact that it has been acknowledged by Facebook means that you can assume that there is an order – that certain ‘Edges’ have more relevancy in the algorithm than others. General consensus at the moment is that the three ‘highest weighted Edges’ are photos, videos and links.

Recency or Time

The simplest part of the algorithm to understand is the Recency or Time – essentially it boils down to the fact that more recent objects are more likely to appear in your News Feed than older ones. Social Media is by its very nature temporal and Facebook’s EdgeRank is no different.

How can I use EdgeRank for my business?

As with any of your Social Media campaigns creativity and encouraging participation is the key to appearing in other peoples news feeds. You have to remember that the Affinity part of the algorithm is only one way – you cannot increase your Affinity score by going round continually clicking or commenting on their photos, you need to appear in their news feed – not the other way round.

When putting together your campaign you need to understand the way EdgeRank works and apply it to your campaigns. You may want to:

Encourage interaction – a status update about the conference you are off to may not encourage a response, but a question will. You need to think about creating discussions, make people want to react and then encourage them to react more than once. Remember that the more they react with you the more their Affinity to you will increase. Debates and ongoing discussions are crucial here.

Utilise the heavier Edges – remember that videos, links and and photos seem to carry more weight? People are drawn to the thumbnails and are likely to click on them to see them in their full glory. Interaction almost has to happen by default – but try and encourage that click. Include a great comment and make sure the video or photo is appealing to your audience.

Know and appeal to your audience – it may be tough in the beginning but as you start to understand what it is that your users like to interact with it will become easier to pick the content that they will want to interact with. Due to the way that EdgeRank works the more they interact the more you appear in their feed.

Don’t forget to ask – “join in the debate” ,”leave a comment”, “what do you think?”. It wouldn’t take long to brainstorm a hundred of these so that you don’t become stale, don’t spend to long being modest and whispering about your content or you will find it takes longer for your campaigns to get traction.

Keep on adding – Social Media is temporal by nature, keep the ideas flowing and keep the content coming. Don’t become a pain but don’t give people too long to forget about you.

When it comes to creating Facebook pages that people want to react with it can be boiled down to just a few points:

  • Understanding how EdgeRank works
  • Understanding what your audience wants
  • Providing the content they want, making that content great and making them want to interact and share

Recommended Reading

Why your business needs a Facebook Fan-Gate

How to make a Facebook fan-gate

Want to check your EdgeRank?

Try this EdgeRank checker tool

 

 


 
 

 
 
Comments
  1. Interesting read – thanks. We use “Crowdbooster” to track what content has the most appeal on facebook, then try to expand our reach by doing similar content posts to the most popular. (Another hot tip picked up from Hallam Newsletters!)

    Amanda

    • Hi there Amanda,

      Glad we can help! It can be difficult to track and optimise both Twitter and Facebook and to know that the hard work that you put in is working. It is crucial that you understand how these social networks work in order to get the best for your business. As you mentioned, knowing what strikes a chord with your audience is important for creating content that works for you.

      Wayne Barker

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