Facebook Edgerank and Business Pages
by Jo Shaer, on September 27, 2012
The recent changes at Facebook and the splitting of the Newsfeed into Top Stories and Recent Stories have made posting content rather problematic for many Business Page Owners.
First up, a survey by Content and Motion reveals that almost two thirds of respondents were unaware that Facebook filtered their newsfeed by default to show friends and pages they interacted with the most. This 'EdgeRank' has been in place for a while but it is believed that the new Recent Stories section may be viewed by some less scrupulous users as an opportunity to blast out huge volumes of status updates, the way they do on Twitter and, combine this with the expected flood of new apps - well, you can see that Facebook would have a vast amount of additional content to deal with.
As a result, they have refined the existing EdgeRank algorithm and brought in a minimum threshold that needs to be achieved for a post to be seen in the Recent Stories section.
How Facebook's EdgeRank works
EdgeRank is an algorithm with three variable components that ranks objects in the Facebook News Feed. Pages with high EdgeRank Scores will be more likely to show up in the news feed, than Pages with low EdgeRank Scores.
Affinity- the more a user comments, likes or interacts with the content from another user, the higher the affinity score and the more likely it is that future content will appear in the Recent News Feed.
Weight is determined by the type of object, such as a photo/video/link/etc, with photos being more highly rated than an ordinary text status update.
Time Decay - as an object gets older, the lower the value.
EdgeRank Checker has developed their own EdgeRank algorithm to help Page Admins understand how their Page interacts with the News Feed. The higher the EdgeRank, the more likely it is that a piece of content from that site will appear in someone's Recent News Feed.
What EdgeRank means for the Business Facebook Page
Checking out the EdgeRanks of my own Pages, I can see that some newer sites which have fewer transactions but a fair number of comments from engaged fans are faring well but older sites with lots of posts but fans who read but do not necessarily interact have EdgeRanks which are dropping like stones.
The changes are going to have an even greater effect and Social Media and Small Bususiness because, as of yesterday, Facebook have stopped any direct communications with fans other than through the wall so Edgerank is going to become crucial. Effectively, the algorithm takes into account the number of status updates, the number of fans and the number of interactions with the status updates by those fans. If the Edgerank isn't high enough, a Page's status updates won't appear in the news feeds of their fans. Suddenly content is no longer king, it's interactions. And it doesn't matter how good your content is, if no one sees it, they can't interact with it. This means that the only way they can reach their fans is through FB ads or Sponsored Stories, which makes me feel that it's all gone a bit ShowMeTheMoney dot com.
Some say that since Time Decay used to be Recency, the best way to deal with this is to be constantly posting. But, without interaction on those posts, it tends to make you look 'spammy' and therefore your EdgeRank will naturally drop.
The more the EdgeRank drops, the less likely it is that someone will see your content in their feeds.
So there are now two goals to consider when making a post - does it have sufficient EdgeRank to make it into the Recent Stories feed or, better still, enough to achieve the blue triangle of a Top Story? If the answer to either of these questions is 'no', then it is better not to make the post. But what does this do to the consistency of posting frequency? And who's to say that a post you may not value so highly might not have been a winner with your readership...?
It's a bit of a Catch 22 and initial data from Edgerank Checker shows that, one week after the new changes came into effect, there has been a drop of almost one third in the number of impressions per post but a small increase in the number of nteractions.
They suspect that the EdgeRank has been modified to achieve a faster time decay with Top Stories being created for users who are more likely to engage with less engaging items being dropped into Recent Stories. So we're effectively seeing less stories but the ones that are being seen are more likely to initiate an interaction.
At the end of the day, what really made me sit up and take note was the stats from the Content and Motion study when they asked whether a reader would be more or less likely to pay attention to a post that had lots of likes and comments.
To me, this is saying that, despite what Facebook experts may think, we are not completely reliant on the likes and dislikes of our friends when it comes to making our own decisions.
I really resent Facebook censoring my newsfeeds based on other people's opinions or even my own past likes and dislikes. I want to make the choice for myself.
Whatever, the only thing that has become patently clear is that it's now more important than ever to know how to engage your particular set of fans if you want to run a successful Facebook Business Page.