Facebook News Feed and EdgeRank Explained
Having a large number of fans for your Facebook page sounds great but it doesn’t mean that all of those fans are seeing what you’re posting on your page. Confused? You’re not alone. It isn’t enough to just have a good customer base on Facebook. Once you’ve made a fan, your opportunity to engage with that client is through their news feed.
Here's an interesting statistic: The BrandGlue blog recently pointed out that only 0.16% of Phoenix Suns Facebook fans come back to the team's page. However, of those that did interact, over 98% did so through the news feed.
So even if you're not an NBA team, it is critical that you understand how the news feed works and what you can do to optimize it.
There are two options for the way Facebook users sort stories in a news feed -- Top Stories and Most Recent. Customers and clients can choose which option they want to sort stories in their news feed. (Facebook selects Top Stories as the default.) Facebook uses a secret algorithm called “EdgeRank” to determine which stories appear in the news feed. Only those stories deemed to be most relevant to you (using the EdgeRank algorithm) are displayed in Top Stories. A user can choose to change their default and sort stories by Most Recent, which will display the stories with the most recent on top. Either way, if a customer or client decides to hide your posts, they won't see them -- there's nothing you can do about that.
Facebook treats everything it publishes as an object and each object receives a ranking, which determines how and where and even whether it will show up in the news feed. Let’s take a closer look EdgeRank and how it works.
EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to give determine how likely it is that an item will appear in a news feed. We won't bore you with all the math behind it, but here's what you need to know to make it work better for you.
Affinity – The affinity score is based on the relationship a customer or client has with the item’s creator. So, the more times you interact with a fan of your business (they click the “Like button,” leave a comment, etc.) the higher the affinity score that person will have with your Facebook page.
Weight – The weight of an item is based on what the item is (photos, link, video, status update) and how much engagement that item is getting. According to social media expert Mari Smith, photos receive the highest weight, followed by videos, links, status updates and apps.
Time Decay – This is just a fancy way of saying “age.” Newer items are more likely to appear in the news feed. Over time, older items drop out of the news feed.
Optimizing for Maximum EdgeRank
There are some basic things you can do to optimize your EdgeRank and the likelihood that your posts will appear in your customers' news feeds:
- Post content that encourages engagement (improves affinity) – Ask a question, encourage fans to share, like this moving company did:
- Post content with higher “weight” – Post photos, links, videos.
- Post new content at least once a day – This helps make sure you aren’t dropping out of the news feed and suffering the perils of “time decay.”
There have also been reports that using third party apps to publish content (such as Postling, Hootsuite, etc.) was having a negative impact on EdgeRank. Facebook business page owners can now rest assured that posts they publish using a third party app are no longer being penalized.
Helpful Tools and Articles
To learn more about your own EdgeRank, consider trying out EdgeRank Checker, which provides a free tool and insight into how you’re doing vis a vis EdgeRank.
For more information about how to create engaging content check put these articles: How to Write Facebook Posts That Get Likes and Comments
About the Author
Leading business experts, marketing professionals and digital marketers offer their advice on the
latest industry trends and strategies to help you grow your business.
Sarah is a Senior Product Manager for Dex One. She has more than 16 years of experience working on digital projects across a variety of industries, such as local search, real estate and financial services. Her focus at Dex is on developing social media products and services to help small to medium-sized businesses market themselves.