Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What is EdgeRank?

Every time you think you’ve got Facebook worked out they go and make changes. Yes it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, but these changes are making it easier for the passionate publicist/marketer to reach audiences. These changes are making our jobs easier.

I love the direction we are moving in. SEO bandits are becoming helpless, like dinosaurs, as they try to tweak and hack their way through Google’s forever changing algorithm. Companies are being forced to learn what their customers actually want after they’ve ‘liked’ a page on Facebook or followed someone on Twitter. Social Search and Social Rank is the future and will inevitably lead to better content, better customer service and, eventually, better competition.

So what’s new? 

The latest change to Facebook is EdgeRank.  Remember when it took you forever to read through all the latest updates in your Facebook News Feed? Wonder why it only takes a few seconds to read updates now?

Well, if you haven’t noticed the change, there are now two settings on your Facebook News Feed; Top News and Most Recent.

So what is all this chatter about EdgeRank? 

Facebook looks at everything a page publishes as a ‘social object.’ Every object receives a specific EdgeRank. Objects with a high EdgeRank appear in 'Top News' feeds. Objects with a low EdgeRank do not. 

The consequences of EdgeRank? 

Getting people to ‘like’ your page will no longer guarantee access to their News Feed. In my opinion this is a good thing.   

How does EdgeRank work?

In short an object’s EdgeRank is based on three factors: 

1) Affinity/Relationship between creator and user. 
2) Interaction/Engagement. 
3) Timeliness/Latest News. 

Put these together and you’ve got an object’s EdgeRank. Of course Facebook won’t tell us exactly how you gain higher EdgeRank…that would just ruin all of the fun and inevitably result in a million EdgeRank specialists charging hundreds of dollars for services that result in emptiness (just like SEO experts in my humble opinion.)

1) Affinity.

An object’s affinity score is based on the interactions between the customer and the page that publishes the object. Customers who regularly interact with a page will receive a higher affinity score. In other words, more engagement leads to more access. 

Each time a customer visits your page, clicks the “Like” button, comments on your status or looks at a picture you’ve posted, you increase the affinity score with that user. 

Conclusion: Affinity is how a customer tells Facebook, “you know what, I like updates from this page…keep me posted.” 

2) Interaction/Engagement.

Activities that require higher levels of user engagement get a higher score than those that don’t e.g., leaving a comment on a photo takes more effort than clicking the “Like” button on a page. Updates that receive higher levels of interaction will score a higher EdgeRank and are more likely to show in a customer’s News Feed. 

Conclusion: Engagement is how a customer tells Facebook, “you know what, I like updates from this page…keep me posted.” 

3) Timeliness/Latest News.

Most people don’t want to read yesterday’s news. Newer objects have a better chance of showing up in your news feed than older ones. 

Conclusion: Keep it current.

So there you have it.  Engagement is fast becoming key.  No surprises there then.  But how do you increase engagement (or at least increase the chances of some interaction)?  Tomorrow we will discuss strategies and best practices to increase the chances of engagement.  


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