Facebook EdgeRank is No More

Life used to be simple for Facebook business users, just understand EdgeRank and you stood a good chance of  visibility and organic growth through engagement with your content.   Sadly as most Business and personal users have noticed over the past year or more that the content in our News Feeds is continually changing and sometimes it seems confusing why some posts appear longer then others and why you suddenly get lots of updates from someone you only interacted with once, recently.   In fact its even worse for Business Page owners as organic reach is now very hard to obtain.

One of the reasons for all this is that Facebook’s venerable and much talked about EdgeRank system (but not always understood) is no more.

What was Facebook EdgeRank?

Put simply this was how Facebook selected and ranked content that shows up in the News Feed using a very simple algorithm.  This then determined which of the countless thousands of posts would show up in a users News Feed and ranked them.  Hence the Rank part, the Edge part is the name Facebook gave to any form of  interaction; a like, a comment, a share, a photo view and so on.

The algorithm looked like this:

e edges Ue We De

where

  • U = Affinity – Score between viewing user and Edge creator ie. how close is the relationship between poster and viewer.
  • W= Weight – What type of Edge ie. What action was taken, like, share, comment etc.
  • D = Decay – Time Decay based on how long ago the Edge was created ie. Older Edges and content falls down your Newsfeed.

So EdgeRank made you Newsfeed relevant to you, liked a lot of scuba diving content, then thats what you would see most of in your News Feed.  Your best friends posts showing over those of the guy from work you only accepted as a friend because you worked on the same project.

Now EdgeRank is no more, instead Facebook uses a much more complex algorithm based on machine learning.

Facebooks News Feed Algorithm

First of all you might be asking why did Facebook move away from EdgeRank.  Well the simple answer is that things have got more complex and the way we use Facebook has also grown and changed. Nowadays there are around 1.23bn active monthly users using dozens of different devices to view and share content.  There are 25 million active Business Pages (and that doesn’t include those businesses still using a profile!) and all these want to put their post at the top of your newsfeed.  Facebook has estimated that the average user could have 1500 stories vying for your News Feed at any given visit.  This comes from around 338 friends and 60 Business Page likes for the average user.  So Facebook needs some process that decides what to display and I’m sure deep down most users want Facebook to do this sorting for them!

Now Facebook isn’t as open about the new algorithm, but we do know certain things for sure:

U,W,D – Affinity, Weight and Time Decay

These have now evolved to look at much deeper signals with multiple weight levels.  Whats measured is how close you are to friends and Pages. Though its not just personal interactions now, Facebook takes a wider view.  If we take an update that is seen by 100 people but only 2 interact with it then its likely that it won’t show in your News Feed irrespective of the affinity level you have with the poster.  On the other hand if 80 users had interacted with it, it would be more likely to appear in your News Feed.

Post Content Behaviours

We’ve always known that post type is important. Pictures. Pictures. Pictures drive engagement.  But now Facebook treats post types with much more granularity.  Users who often interact with Video will see more Video posts in their News Feeds and those that like and comment mainly on pictures will see more picture post types.  Its no longer global affinity that matters but the individual user.

Non News Feed Behaviour

Its not just about your behaviour on your News Feed, but also on other timelines.  You know that person you just had a look at their Facebook time line (not stalking I hope!), and then you start seeing their posts.

Advert behaviour

How you interact with Facebook Ads can also influence what then appears in your News Feed.  But it is worth pointing out that the algorithm that decides what Ads to show you on Facebook is different to the one that decides on your News Feed

Relationship Settings

For each of your Friends or Pages that you have liked you can amend the relationship settings.  Add a friend to the Close Friend list and you will see all their posts and even get notifications.  Add them to Acquaintance and you get nothing.  With Pages you can also select to “Get notifications” or “Receive updates” and you can also determine what types of posts you get.

Hide Post / Spam Reporting

Although Facebook puts in a lot of effort to make sure you recieve relevant posts in your News Feed, you can always hide or report as spam those that you don’t like.  This is then factored in to your News Feed future.  There is an element of decay with this though, newer hides will carry more weight then something that you may have hidden a few weeks ago.

Access Device

What device you use to access Facebook is also factored in; App, Mobile site, Desktop site, Ipad or older feature phone all affect your News Feed.  So for example on your super fast MacBook you will see more Picture and Video content, but if you access your account from your mums feature phone via a slow Edge GSM connection then you may see more Text updates.

Story Bumping 

One of the two newest additions.  For me Story Bumping is also one of the most annoying, it takes an old post and gives it a 2nd chance if there is still interaction on it.  So if you see a post from 2012 from a friend in your News Feed its probably because another friend has liked or commented on it recently.

Last Actor

The other new addition Facebook tracks a users most recent interactions, in fact its the last 50.  These are given more weight when it decided what to display in your News Feed.  All this is weighed with a time decay, so the value assigned to the 50 declines once you the user make another 50.  A good example of this is a newly accepted Friend Request, you’ll suddenly see there recent updates in your News Feed.  Though if you then don’t interact with this person while continuing to interact with others then these posts will rapidly drop away.

 

Hopefully this gives you a good insight into how Facebook’s News Feed works and how its evolving.  In a future article I will look at ways you can as a Business Page get your posts to as many users as possible.

If you have any additional insights to add, I would be happy to hear and update this article.

 

 

 

Facebook pages with multiple admins

New Facebook Function for Admins

Facebook is rolling out some new functionality on the 20th Feb which will be a great help to businesses that have Facebok Pages with multiple admins.   Facebook will add the name of the person who posted a status update below the name of your Page, with the comment Posted By. Also if an admin comments on status update or post to your timeline the name of that person (admin) will be listed below the comment with a Comment on by note.   Also your Page’s activity log will display this information for all posts (as soon as its rolled out to your Page, it won’t be back dated though) including all scheduled ones.

This information will only be available to other page admins and not your fans (yet – I’m guessing) For those businesses or admins that don’t use Social Media Management tools this will be a great help in being able to audit and account for each comment or post made by the Page admins.   I think this is a great and simple new asset for all Page managers.

Facebook Reviews

Facebook has just released an updated review system to business pages.  Lots of pages will already have seen this enabled on their page.

What does it look like?  If you have it enabled you will see the star reviews under your page name:

Facebook review star rating

As you can see users are asked to rate your service/product out of 5.  They are also able to enter a text review via your pages timeline.  Situated under the posts by others box you will find a reviews box:

Adding Facebook reviews

Here a user can enter their review or read the reviews of others.  At present there is no way to link directly to this box to encourage users to leave reviews, but I hope this will be added as it rolls out more.

If you page does not have this you may be wondering how you can get this feature for your page. What you need to have is a page with a location.   Learn more about adding your address to your Page once the address has been added your reviews and star ratings will appear.

But remember you can not remove individual reviews from your Page. If you prefer not to allow ratings and reviews on your Page and Facebook has already enabled it you can remove your Page’s address. To remove your address:

  1. At the top of your Page, click Edit Page
  2. Select Update Page Info
  3. Click Address
  4. Edit your address
  5. Click Save Changes

New Facebook tool – Pages to Watch

A great new feature appeared today (27.11.2013) on Facebook.  Facebook Pages to watch, is a simple metric that allows you to track up to 5 other Facebook pages.  This is a great little tool for those that wish to keep track of their closest competitor pages.  Or for those like me who have multiple pages you could easily track growth on selected ones.

Running like growth Ads on your pages, then now you can get a quick snapshot of the performance without needing to access Ads manager.  If monitoring competitors, and suddenly the likes on one shoot up, then you could be sure to know that they are running a like growth Ad.  Maybe this is time for you to start some Ads to combat this.  Maybe you just need to check out the page to see what they are doing new.

All in all its one of those nice simple metrics that are hard to misinterpret but can help you make short term decisions much easier. Its also very easy to set up.

step 1  – Click on Add Pages

Facebook pages to watch

Step 2 – Add the Page username

Facebook pages to watch setup

Sometimes its the little things that can please admins the most.