One of the most common pieces of feedback I receive from facebook training sessions is that participants had no idea that only a small percentage of their fans are seeing their posts. It’s one of the most valuable pieces of information that they take away and for many, it changes the way they produce their content and think about their facebook interactions.
Prior to being immersed in the world of facebook, many business owners assume that their posts are seen by their entire fan or friend base, only to be horrified at the actual statistics. What would your guess be about how much content is seen by your fans? 100%, 50%, 60%?
So you’ll be stunned to discover that in many cases, only about 10% of fans will see your content….
Why? Comscore reports that 40% of all the time on facebook is in the newsfeed and only 12% is spent on profile and brand pages. To give some context, in the USA alone, people spend more time on the facebook newsfeed than the six major news sites (ABC, NSNBC, Yahoo! News, CNN, New York Times and the Huffington post) combined*. So given how much content is generated (by facebook brand pages or by your friends) there needs to be a way for facebook to filter the information.
This is where the facebook edgerank comes in.
WHAT IS EDGERANK?
Edgerank is an algorithm used by facebook to determine where and what posts appear on each individual users news feed in order to give users the most relevant content.
Each piece of activity on facebook is defined as an ‘edge’ and can potentially create a newsfeed story. This includes all likes, comments, photos, tags, comments, RSVPs – any public activity that is undertaken. Facebook looks at these ‘edges’ and utilises the information to filter the newsfeed and show the posts that they determine are the most relevant to the users.
I’m no mathematician or expert on equations, so what you need to know without all the technical details is that there are a number of variables that make up this algorithm to determine the rank:
This is measured by the relationship between users. The more you are connected and interact with them, the higher your affinity score and more likelihood that you’ll be shown the content.
Similarly, if you’ve liked and interacted with content on the page before, or you always like photos, there’s a greater likelihood that you’ll see the content being posted on the page. Remember that this is a one-way relationship, so if you’re actively posting on others pages and interacting, it does not mean that they will have a high affinity with your page.
Different types of content carry different weights. Photos, videos, links and status updates carry different weights. Generally photos and videos have shown to have higher weightings, although in recent times I’ve seen short text based posts also drive good reach and engagement.
If a user on your page comments on your page, or interacts positively, it’s given a higher weighting than if a user simply likes. This is why you’ll see many brands asking people to comment on the posts or encouraging sharing as it drives up a higher edgerank score than simply liking
The amount of time from when the post was made – old news is no longer relevant if no one interacts with it. If you’re posting content at 10am, and most of your fans are not online till after 5pm, it’s unlikely the majority of your fan base will see the content when they log-on later in the day. The vast majority of engagement will happen within minutes of a post being published.
Since September 2012, the edgerank is also impacted by negative feedback that you receive on your page. But more about that in another post.
BATMAN COMES TO THE RESCUE TO EXPLAIN
If you’re a batman fan, this simple infographic by Mike Maghsoudi from Post Rocket helps to explain simply how the concept works in plain English.
WHY IS YOUR EDGERANK SO IMPORTANT??
In essence, your edgerank determines the reach of your content. If you’re a page Administrator it’s something you need to be aware of because it’s fundamental to your success on facebook.
Trialling different types of content and working out what resonates most with your community is important to keeping them engaged and keeping people coming back for further interaction. It’s reported that brands that are leveraging the power of the News Feed reach +40% of their fans per post!
How can you determine your edgerank?
Facebook does not share a lot of information about the actual edgerank scores so in most instances you need to test out and monitor your content to work out what’s best for your brand.
A service called Edge rank checker can help to give you some insights into your page performance. Although in many cases if you have a small page, simply looking at some of the interactions on your page through the facebook analytics can give you a good guide.
If you’re the administrator of a page you can go to the bottom of the post and see how many people saw it, and then delve in deeper in the insights section for further information.