Here’s why EdgeRank is critical to your marketing success on Facebook
19th April 2012
84%. That’s the average percentage of Facebook users who have clicked ‘Like’ on your Facebook Page but never return to your Page or never see your posts appear in their News Feed. Anecdotally, we’ve heard of that number being as high as 96%. As a marketer that’s a pretty shocking statistic. The good news is you can increase your exposure on Facebook. The first step to achieving this is to understand a little algorithm Facebook calls EdgeRank.
In April 2010 at Facebook’s f8 developer conference, Facebook engineers presented EdgeRank as a prioritisation algorithm for the News Feed. Its purpose was to filter out the “noise” and give priority to content that it believed would be most relevant to users.
The theory behind EdgeRank is quite straight forward – every action that results in new content being created on Facebook is considered an “edge”, be it a status update, a Like, a comment, a photo upload – you get the point. As marketers, the relationship between your Facebook Page Timeline and your users is determined by your EdgeRank score. This score isn’t published or you can’t find out what it is but you can take steps to increase your EdgeRank score.
So how is EdgeRank calculated?
edge = every action that results in content being created on Facebook
u = affinity between user and edge creator
w = content weight
d = time decay
Affinity refers to the relationship between user accounts on Facebook. On your personal Facebook account, you may notice that if you comment on or like the posts of certain friends, you generally see more activity from those friends in your News Feed. Similarly, the more your fans interact with your content, the more posts they will see from you in their News Feed.
Weight relates to the type of content you publish on Facebook. Although Facebook don’t explicitly disclose the “weight” of each content type (most likely because this calculation changes over time), it is generally accepted that posts including rich media such as a video or an image are likely to be “heavier” than a post with just text.
Time decay is all about how old your post is. This metric values new content over old and in the world of Facebook, content older than 24 hours is likely to have low to no visibility in the News Feed.
How to increase your EdgeRank
It seems like catch-22 but the more your users engage with your content, the higher your EdgeRank score will be with those users. Remember the “complete this sentence” posts that recently landed big brands like Woolworths and Coca-Cola in hot water? Many questioned what the objective was with these “social media failures”. In reality, the objective was quite clear – increase EdgeRank. And that it did, regardless of the divisive way fans chose to “complete the sentence”.
Tip #1 – Ensure rich media is part of your content strategy
Your posts on Facebook should include some rich media such as video or images, even links to your website or blog. Remember, this kind of content is weighted heavier than just plain text. Try to choose rich media content that is visually appealing and ultimately results in your fans liking or sharing it with their friends.
Tip #2 – Post content that encourages engagement
Although the infamous “complete this sentence” post has worked well in the past and driven high engagement, it does come with risks, mostly related to your brand reputation. Posting questions or asking for opinions on certain topics is popular but ensure you’ve performed a risk analysis first.
Tip #3 – Encourage your audience to DO something
Ensure there is a clear call to action on the majority of your posts. Think about what it is you want your audience to do. Is it to click a link which takes them to a page on your website or is it for them to add a comment to your post? Whatever it is, your call to action must be succinct and simple.
Tip #4 – Timing is everything
The element of time is important to consider when posting new content so ensure you have an understanding of when your fans actually use Facebook. You may want to perform a little stalking research into your fan base – what times of the day do they comment on your posts? What days in particular? If they have open profiles, what times of the day do they post on their own Timeline? After a while you’ll get a sense of whether your fans are active, for example, during their lunch break or in the evening, or perhaps on the weekend. Once you’re aware of the ideal time, post your new content a few hours before. Remember to always check Facebook Insights to monitor performance of your posts.
Tip #5 -Leverage your other channels
If you also use Twitter, use the fb.me URL shortener to drive traffic to content you’ve posted on Facebook. If you send out e-newsletters, include links to content on your Facebook page. The aim is to get your fans (or potential fans) back on your Facebook Page because this will increase their chances of commenting or liking your content and subsequently increase your EdgeRank score with those users. So in the future when you post updates, these users will be more likely to see your content in their News Feeds.
Finally, stay up to date
Facebook is in continual flux. Always make sure you stay up to date with the latest news and announcements. Check out Facebook Marketing Solutions and the newly created Facebook Marketing Solutions Australia. And don’t forget to follow @readingroom_au on Twitter.