Why doesn’t anyone LIKE me? This expression was once only heard coming from the mouths of babes complaining to their parents about school life but with the recent changes to Facebook, more and more businesses are complaining of the same thing. Fortunately the answer is a lot more straightforward and can be summed up in the term EdgeRank.
Before we delve in to the what, how and why of EdgeRank there is something that we need to be absolutely clear on. Facebook is a business, first and foremost. It was created to provide a social network for individuals but it is now a publicly listed company that is committed to providing profit to its shareholders. Facebook makes money by providing advertisers with users just like newspapers provide advertisers with readers. So with this in mind, do not be surprised at the changes that Facebook has made and will continue to make that will generate more income .
So what is EdgeRank?
EdgeRank is an equation that Facebook is using to calculate what appears in your newsfeed. Facebook refers to this as NFO: News Feed Optimisation. The term News Feed Optimisation (NSO) does what any good business strives: providing its users with what they want. This is determined by Facebook using an algorithm that determines content will show up in a user’s feed that is: popular, relevant and timely. Facebook have kindly put this in to a scary looking equation that is sure to send us all in to horrible flashbacks to Algebra at school. The equation is not important but how it works is.
The three attributes which are part of the algorithm are affinity (popularity), weight (relevance) and time decay (timeliness). These three variables are the edges that the algorithm ranks to determine what content is most likely to be of interest to the user or audience.
Weight: this is the value given to the comments and actions any given post receives from your pages’ Facebook community. As your followers engage with your post ie like it, tag it, share it or comment on it, so it gains in relevance to the community at large.
Affinity: is the score between the viewer and the edge creator. So how closely you are tied to the person creating the content determines this score. From a personal user point of view this makes sense as friends who you interact with more on Facebook are more likely to receive your updates but from a business point of view this can be problematic as it is hard to engage with your followers on a one-to-one basis.
Time Decay: is fairly simple. The value of content decays or decreases as time passes. Think of this again in terms of a newspaper – you would never buy yesterday’s newspaper. Today’s news is what is important.
So now we understand what EdgeRank is the burning question still remains: how do I get my updates to appear in my followers’ newsfeeds. There are several answers to this. The first is to pay. Facebook has introduced a method where you can promote an update. There has been a huge backlash against this but lets go back to my earlier point. Facebook is a business and there to make money. This promoting an update allows it to make more money. The other method is about hard work. You need to really engage with your followers to get them to interact with your updates. This will give you sharper edges and mean your content is more likely to appear in their newsfeeds.
I hope you have found this blog useful. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss any aspects of this blog at sarah@www.osb.dev