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How understanding Facebook’s Edgerank can boost your visibility in the news feed

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 21 Nov, 2012
Essential Essential topic

5 Reasons why Facebook Edgerank shouldn't be taken for granted and how to improve it

Each time you check your Facebook account, it’s a given that you’re going
to check your News Feed. Why? Because you want to know what's going on with
your friends, what new things they’re checking out, and how you can be a part of it.

But Facebook doesn’t let you see everything each of your 500 friends is doing. It would end up being such a huge, fast-moving mess on your feed that reading an update would tire you out. This is why Facebook introduced Edgerank.

What is Facebook Edgerank?

Edgerank is an algorithm Facebook uses in order to determine what should appear on a user’s News Feed by looking at your interactions and your interests so that it can show you what you most want to see. An “Edge” is every interaction you’ve ever had on Facebook, and when Edgerank filters your News Feed, it’s showing you the people and posts you’ve shown the most interest in.

The Edgerank algorithm is based on 3 factors—affinity, edge weight, and recency.

  • Affinity is basically your level of interaction with a certain person in your network. For example, when you “Facebook-stalk” someone’s profile a lot, updates from that person will appear in your feed more often.
  • Edge weight is based on the kind of content you post. Based on your preferences, some forms of content can be more important than others—like how photos are often more likely to attract interest than plain text.
  • Recency  also called time decay, is the embodiment of how news is always better than old news—new information always shows up at the top of your feed while old information is relegated to the bottom heap.

If you need more information on EdgeRank, see these 2 articles by Marie Page which explain  how Facebook calculates EdgeRank.

So what does this all mean for you as a marketer?

Here are 5 reasons why you should be paying attention:

1. Post Impression. Having a good Edgerank ranking improves how other people see your post. The higher ranked you are, the more important you appear to be, and it affects how your fans and their friends see you. Especially when coupled with great content, you become top priority viewing, increasing awareness of your brand.

2. Fan Interaction. Edgerank gets you to interact with your fans and their network. When you want to increase affinity, you don’t just post—you comment, you chat, you get people engaged. This helps your fans to get to know you better on a personal level, and with that, gets them interested in what you’re offering.

3. Market Targeting. Edgerank helps you tailor your marketing campaign
by determining the best way to get to groups of fans and their networks. By knowing
how much “edge weight” posting a photo gives your rank in a certain niche group, you’ll be inclined to use visual media more in your updates to them because you’ve
seen that they grab attention more than announcements.

On the other hand, another group may prefer plain text. Knowing your rank can help you in targeting the right posts to the right people.

4. Competitive Edge. Edgerank can give you an edge over your competition (no pun intended). By maximizing the recency variable in the algorithm, you can figure out
what’s the best time to post an update so that’s it’s seen by more fans, and what’s the best time to engage active users. You can even beat competitors to the punch by determining the times wherein they’re less likely to post so your post gets top ranking, and gets seen by more users.

5. Budget Friendliness. Ultimately, Edgerank gets you the attention you want, with minimal cost. Some marketers start out by using pay per click. Promoted Posts to catch users, and by maintaining a strong ranking, retain fans. All that’s needed from you is to consistently provide interesting, valuable content, and you won’t run out of fans.

Now that we know why Edgerank is important to your marketing
campaign, it’s never too late to start putting it to good use. If in the past you haven’t paid attention to increasing your ranking, here are some tips for you:

How to increase your ranking?

1. Increase your Affinity

Edgerank isn’t about selling something and being done with it - it’s about building and maintaining interest in a brand for the long term.

To keep your ranking high, you want to make sure readers won’t want to take you off their feeds. Your campaign needs to lead to something valuable, whether it’s a promotion, a product, or a useful tip—something users can rely on. And you need to get out there and interact with your fans. Comment, like, ask questions, and build discussions on your page.

Find out who your audience is—what kind of people are they? What do they like? How do they think? Holding contests is another way to get your fans involved, and introduce your brand. The main goal is to build your closeness with them so they’ll always look forward to what you have to say.

2. “Weigh” your content
A picture is worth a thousand words. As much as you can, try to feature a photo when you update. It’s a great, easy way to generate likes and comments, especially if your picture is unique or funny. Photos are considered by some to the heaviest in terms of “edge weight”—more than links or plain text—because visual content is generally more attention-grabbing.

You can also go with posting creative videos—it’s a good way to go viral and generate buzz. You can even couple your visual content with the right caption to provide information. Just remember—the image or video you post must be in line with your content, and appropriate for the general audience.

3. Be up to date
Many marketers fail to keep their audience because they only post every so often. Though you’ve got interesting content and great visuals, your fans won’t remember you if the last time you updated was one year ago. Keep updates coming on your page at least 2-3 times a week. It doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking announcement or a new product, but just something that continually seeks to increase fan interaction and keep you fresh in your fans’ minds.

You can even use your affinity with your audience to determine the best time for you to post so that the chance for your fans to see your update increases. Maximizing the recency variable can be a big turning point for you especially in terms of beating the competition.

Facebook Edgerank is more than just a filter for your News Feed. Ranking really does make a difference especially in how your market responds. But one important detail to keep in mind is that Edgerank is a one-way street. As you interact with your fans, you may find that while they’re always on your feed, you may not be on theirs.

Don’t worry, though—that gives you all the more reason to further build on your relationship with them.

Affinity. Weight. Recency - this Facebook algorithm encompasses many of the
things a marketer wants to be. So don’t ignore your Edgerank—learn to make
it a big part of your campaign.

Tony Evans is a freelance web designer, an alumna of Upskilled Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Athena. She has a passion for Aerobics and cooking healthy recipes.

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