Understanding Facebook’s Algorithm

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular social media outlet in existence. The average Facebook user has over 200 friends; however, according to Facebook itself, your average Facebook post only reaches 16% of your network – whether you’re an individual or a company page. The Facebook algorithm is something that people try to understand, yet still remains a mystery to most. Here is what you need to know.

An Introduction to EdgeRank

First, it’s important to understand where Facebook’s algorithm came from. It may seem like it just comes out of thin air, with the Facebook marketing team thinking of what they can do next to mess with people, but there’s actually a science behind it. EdgeRank, the algorithm that Facebook uses, calls every action taken on Facebook an “edge.” Determining how important your “edge” is depends on three factors: Affinity Score, Edge Weight, and Time Decay.

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Affinity Score

The affinity score is the measurement of how close, or “connected” you are to another Facebook user. You would have a higher affinity score with your best friend whose status updates you interact with on a daily basis than your elementary school friend that just posts Candy Crush game updates that you have no interest in.

Affinity Score is one-sided. If you interact with your friend, but your friend doesn’t interact with you, Facebook will read this interaction as you caring about what your friend is doing, but it not being reciprocated.

Edge Weight:

In the simplest of terms, Edge Weight is how much weight Facebook gives to those “edges” you produce. Different kinds of posts carry different weights. In order, they rank: photos/videos, links, plain text updates.

Of course, Edge Weight is also relative. If engagement is high on a plain text update, that update will carry more weight than a photo or video post with no interaction.

Time Decay:

As can be expected, an older post loses edge points. An older post will lose points faster if the user lets a lot of time go by between logging into Facebook.

The Importance of EdgeRank

It is through having a high EdgeRank score that viewers will see your updates. If you are an individual promoting your website, a company trying to get your brand out there, or just a user whose ego needs to be placated, you want your updates to be seen. Otherwise, status updates would never happen in the first place.

According to comScore, 40% of time spent on Facebook is spent on the newsfeed while only 12% is spent on profile and brand pages. What does that tell you? You need to do what you can to make sure your posts are seen as relevant in the eyes of the almighty Facebook.

What you can do to Increase Your EdgeRank

Here are some tips and tricks to increase your EdgeRank and increase your exposure:

Be visual

Priority is given to photos and videos so upload that picture of your dog to share.

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Create engaging content

It should go without saying, but a piece of content that makes people want to interact with it will produce a higher edge score. For Fan Pages, try asking a question to your followers or writing a fill-in-the-blank post to foster conversation.

Try new things

Especially as a brand page, it’s important to incorporate new ideas into your content strategy. After all, you won’t know what kind of update garners the most interaction unless you test your options. Also, try posting at different times of the day. Studies show that most interaction with a Page takes place between 9pm and 10pm.

Test new features

Facebook features that are rolled out to the masses will have a higher EdgeRank because Facebook wants to show off their new tool and encourage its usage.

Get creative with sharing

Find ways to get your information out there and still rank high on the newsfeed. For example, if you want to share a link, try posting a photo instead (which ranks higher) and either insert the link as the text that goes along with that photo, or put the link in the comments of the post.

Facebook is a tricky, tricky fella. It keeps certain parts of the algorithm a secret, and admits to constantly tweaking it, but with this information you may just end up ahead of most. You’ll see success on Facebook if you engage, are true, know your brand and target audience…and can work with the algorithm. From there, those likes and comments will fall into place.

About the author

Jennifer Buggica