17 Oct 2012

Facebook's Edgerank explained in an Infographic

Below is a short summary about my thoughts on Facebook's Edgerank and peoples obsession with increasing their fans. Don't get me wrong, I think the fan base metric is important, but would argue engagement rate and dialogue with fans / prospective fans is more important. It's a quality over quantity thing. If you can have both, even better - but work upwards from the lowest hanging fruit aka 'quality'. Perhaps this analogy doesn't even fit, as 'quality' is actually one of the hardest things to get right, and is the element that is often comprimised!

Within the marketing landscape, I am constantly seeing articles and video 'how to's' describing how I can (a) 'Increase my fans / followers', (b) 'Get my website better ranked in Google and (c) basically do a better job with minimal effort and maximum success....

Like Google's search engine ranking system, Facebook has a complicated algorithm called 'Edgerank' that essentially is Facebook's control mechanism to manage what each of us sees in our news feed. That is to say that we don't get 100% visibility of the total posts made by our friends and the brand pages we follow. We see a selection of these posts, which are determined by Edgerank.

Also, as found with Google and its ranking methodology, Facebook do not publicly publish exactly how this works. What they do do is give us top level information about best practice. Key to both Google's and Facebook's methodology of search results or news feeds is, and always will be, relevancy.

At a simplified top level, the more relevant something is, the more likely you are to engage with it, and therefore the more likely you are to use it again, and perhaps even share it with other people who share the same interests; because it was relevant.

So the question should not solely be 'how do I increase my followers', it should be more focused on 'how do I make posts as relevant and engaging as possible to my existing followers, whilst being as virally attractive to their followers, helping me increase my base'.

I believe the 101 here should be:
  1. Learn about Facebook's Edgerank
  2. Look and analyse other brands activity on Facebook - Number of posts a day, type of content they publish, engagement rate vs the number of followers they have
  3. Have a content plan and test things out
  4. Note what works (and why), and what didn't
  5. Repeat all of the above - including point 1 as things change; constantly

The problem, or the solution depending on how you look at it!

Facebook has recently (end of September) changed its algorithm, which essentially is limiting post reach to about 5-10%.

Short answer = To drive more revenue from brands through paid media on the platform, which will increase the post reach.

Extended answer: With over 1 billion users and the new pressure of generating revenue to new shareholders since the company went public, naturally Facebook are starting with the brands to raise some $.

For a long time, Facebook has been a free tool that many brands have now embraced as fundamental components to their business; marketing, customer service, and for some, sales.

Limit the post reach, you either force brands to:
  1. Not use Facebook anymore, which is pretty unlikely for brands established on there, seeing its huge penetration / user base in most Western societies.
  2. Keep using Facebook as normal, but probably notice engagement rates decrease.
  3. Spend some money to generate footfall to your key posts.
All the above said, a well planned relevant engagement-content strategy, and understanding about the way Facebook works is essential to your brands success. And measure, measure, measure.

A friend Chris Stobbs from WOM specialists 1000heads also passed on an addition article that was very interesting, which details Facebooks most recent update to Edgerank. Read article

Edgerank Infographic

Instead of writing about Pagerank itself, I found a really great and simple infographic by GetPostRocket via Firebrandtalent that I think explains things in a simple and graphic way. "An image is worth a thousand words" sort of thing..

Edgerank infographic not displaying? Click here to view instead.
Source: Uploaded by user via Si on Pinterest

Infographic via Firebrandtalent and originally created by GetPostRocket

What are your thoughts on Edgerank and ways to maximise reach to your fans?
Have you noticed a dip in engagement rates?

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