Math is normally not a journalists’ strong suit. However, in the case of EdgeRank it pays to give the numbers a nod. And while the algorithm below may seem scary at first, the concepts are actually much simpler than you might guess. And if you can grasp them, it will make a major impact on the success of your Facebook strategy.
For starters, EdgeRank is a mathematical equation. It’s the way Facebook determines what each of your Fans sees in their individual News Feeds. As you probably know, when you look at your News Feed you are NOT seeing EVERYTHING that EVERY one of your friends has posted. Facebook filters anywhere from 75-85 percent of content OUT of your News Feed. EdgeRank is how Facebook decides what to leave in.
This is the EdgeRank equation:
Let’s break it down:
AFFINITY: Affinity measures the relationship between the viewing user (Fan) and the creator of the story (Fan Page). The closer the relationship, the higher the score.
WEIGHT: Different types of posts carry different starting weights. The weight is increased as Likes, Comments, Shares increase.
TIME DECAY: As a post gets older, its value decreases.
Also, it’s important to note that with the latest round of EdgeRank changes in September, Facebook has confirmed that Negative Feedback is now calculated more heavily in the equation. For example:
WEIGHT: The more times a post is ignored the lower the value.
AFFINITY: The more complaints a Page receives, the lower the value.
So, what can you do? Here are a few tips for newsrooms who want to be strategic about Facebook EdgeRank:
To achieve a higher AFFINITY score:
1 – Respond: Avoid negative feedback by responding to comments quickly.
2 – Build Relationships: Personally engage your Fans to increase their interest in your Page over time.
To achieve a higher WEIGHT score:
1 – Remember that each Post-Type has a different starting value. Facebook has never explicitly said this, but based on studies the order is:
2 – Call to Action: Encourage users to like, comment, share by ASKING them to do so.
3 – Evaluate Post-Type Trends: If a Fan engages more with Photo posts, he’s more likely to see a Photo posts than any other type.
4 – Great Content: eye-catching images, controversies, debates, personal stories, hot-topics, breaking news, something worth talking about, liking and sharing.
To achieve a higher TIME DECAY score:
1 – Timing: Set goals for how often you want to post and change them based on how your community responds.
2 – Evaluate Trends: Make note of what happens when you post more or less often. Find the pace that’s right for YOUR Page.
Facebook’s stance on EdgeRank is that it’s designed to reward engaging content and hide the “spammy” content that some Brand Pages push out. Facebook says the September update to the algorithm ensures that brands’ posts only pop up in the feeds of those Fans who are most likely to like, comment or share it. So to me, this means it is still all about posting engaging content. And as a news organization, you have a built in advantage here! Newsrooms are posting great content that’s inherently newsworthy and engaging to Fans, whereas the rest of the “Brand Page community” is largely posting commercial advertisements/marketing messages and spam. The rest of the “Brand Page community” relies on EdgeRank to get them into the feeds. News organizations do not. News orgs are able to get there organically because they are putting out great content. Keep doing that – and you’ll always come out on top!