Having a good size fan base on Facebook isn’t enough these days. Once you’ve collected your fans you have to fight for their hard earned attention in the newsfeed. But in order to get into your fans’ newsfeeds in the first place, you have to fight the engine that decides how worthy your content is. According to Facebook, all posts are not created equal.
EdgeRank is the name of the algorithm which Facebook uses to determine what content appears in users’ news feeds. While official details are scant, we know that Edgerank determines which friends and brands a user follows are the most important to them and thus appear most frequently, and which kinds of content should appear higher than others. A combination of three elements makes this algorithm work: Affinity, Edge Weight and Recency.
- Affinity: You’ve probably seen this in action. Comment on someone’s photos and you’ll find them appearing in your feed more often. Further, you commenting on a photo of theirs which then triggers them to comment back would lead to them having a greater affinity to you.
- Edge Weight: A basic formula which decides that certain types of content are more likely to appear in news feeds than others. For example, photos are weighted more than a story of someone “liking” a brand page. Further, a story with lots of comments also has high weight. Photos are widely understood to have the highest Edge Weight.
- Recency (Time Decay): Something newer is more likely to appear than something older.
EdgeRank is weighted so activities that require higher levels of user engagement get a higher score than those activities that don’t. While we’ll never know the true mechanics behind this ultra-secret formula, crafty marketers know that “Comment” is king. Instead of focusing on driving lots of likes, posting content that will generate more comments and shares will increase a brand’s presence on Facebook.
Keep in mind that Facebook wants people consuming content so its algorithm rewards the brands that create the coolest content. However, even the coolest content can’t penetrate a user’s newsfeed if they haven’t previously interacted with the brand. To marketers, users’ Affinity towards brands is key. Put simply, it’s no coincidence that Coca-Cola has over 10,000 photos on Facebook.
Mary McPherson is a Social Media Strategist at Razorfish in Seattle. She’s also a new mom with a penchant for quaint neighborhood bistros, Washington wines, The Discovery Channel and Wes Anderson films. Follow her on Twitter to get a feel for her passion for #sharkweek.