Let’s start with this: if every post made by your 200 or so friends got posted on your newsfeed your Facebook experience would be rather different than it is now, chances are you’d be subject to a constant stream of indigestible titbits – moving through your stream and your consciousness at lightning speed.
Every time your friend: posts a comment, creates a new status update, tags a photo or joins a page, hat activity has the potential to be in a newsfeed story. Facebook calls these actions Edges, hence the name Edgerank. (See sidebar for glossary of Facebook terms)
As we said above, this potentially overwhelming stream of activity has to be sorted somehow, so Edgerank is Facebook’s attempt at filtering all these Edges and give each user only the most interesting stories from among their friend’s activities.
A Facebook representative once let slip that less than 1/500 of your potential newsfeed stories actually make it into your feed. So competition is tough when it comes to getting your activity noticed, even by your friends, let alone the wider public (if self-publicity or marketing is your game).
Why should I care?
Well, if you want your activity to be noticed (probably why most people come to Facebook in the first place) you should perhaps learn how to use, or manipulate, the EdgeRank algorithm, or you might be the sort who simply like to know how things work; if you’re in neither of those groups then maybe it’s time to stop reading and go boil an egg or something.
Ok then so how does it work?
No this doesn’t prove the Universe is expanding
So Affinity x Weight x Decay = EdgeRank.
In case you were wondering what those hieroglyphs meant.
Affinity if decided by how close a particular user is to an Edge. A girl posting daily on her sister’s wall, uploading photos which the sister often shares with her friends and having 100 mutual friends would be considered by Facebook to have high Affinity. Affinity is built be repeated actions with a person’s, or Brand’s, Edge. Three things to remember about Affinity.
- Interaction counts – viewing a status update carries no weight, commenting on it does.
- It is one way – Facebook gives weight to the girl commenting on her sister’s wall but not to the sister receiving it.
- Like beauty it fades – the older an action is the less significance Facebook gives it.
Put simply differing actions are given differing amounts of credit, with liking being less weighty than commenting, commenting than uploading a photo and so on. There is even speculation that these weighting may vary from user to user. The general rule of thumb being the more effort involved by the poster the more weight given to it. These change according to the whim/commercial assessment of Facebook, as the storm over Facebook’s EdgeRank changes of September 2012 showed (see post Facebook SEO – Optimising Fan Pages for EdgeRank).
This is probably the easiest concept to follow; the longer the Edge has been around the more value it loses. A comment posted five minutes ago has a greater relevance, and therefore value, than something posted 3 days ago. Keeping our News Feed fresh is one of Facebook many stated aims.
So post often, post with effort i.e. uploading a video is always better than hitting the like button on someone else’s, post content that creates comments and shares and be active – remember a little and often is better than a lot all in one go.
Our own little case study
Here’s a screen shot of the first month’s activity of a very successful recruitment campaign we started in early January 2013; a campaign which led to surfeit of recruits for a previously hungry for recruits Healthcare company.
How did we manage that? By utilising EdgeRank of course.
A somewhat peeved person actually posted on this Fan Page’s wall – “Please stop posting stuff on my Facebook.” – and she wasn’t even a fan.
Digital Marketing Specialists
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