Edgerank latest and what to do about it• The Edgerank Algorithm and recent changes• The impact on brands• Practical ideas in response• Some very recent research• Promoted Posts
They may be fans but do they see your updates? 203% PTAT!
The Facebook Edgerank Algorithm• Every bit of FB content is known as an “edge”- status update, a like, a photo, a change in relationship status• The newsfeed isn’t really a feed of news, instead it’s a chart of the most ‘important’ Edges which are determined by the EdgeRank Algorithm.Traditionally 3 elements: What about the – Affinity new “Spam” – Edge weight score? – Recency
EdgeRank is now based on four things:• Yours and other peoples relationship with a brand (affinity): the more you and other people engage with a post, the more likely you are to see it• The type of post: visual posts are favoured over links and simple status updates. (Hmmm – some recent research disputes this)• Time: the older a post is, the less likely it is to be viewed...with a catch (which I will explain below).• EdgeRank is now also ranked based on the level of negative feedback a brand and posts receives.• In short, engagement and the type of post improves your EdgeRank score, while the time decay and the negative feedback makes it worse. These four factors combined is what determines the success of your post.• http://www.baekdal.com
What does Edgerank hide?When EdgeRank is applied, updates from brand pages dropped 61%, friend postsincreased by 33%, and activity updates (friend actions) dropped by 81%.
Why the change in the algorithm?• “The problem we face with the news feed is that people come to Facebook everyday, but people don’t have enough time to check out absolutely everything that’s going on.” (Facebook’s Will Cathcart reported by TechCrunch, 2012)
What are the changes?• PostRocket (2012) reported that the weight of photos (previously reach winners and therefore routinely used by brands) has been reduced and ordinary text update weight increased.• Reach appears to have decreased (TechCrunch, 2012a) report that Pagelever find it stable whereas (SocialBakers, 2012a) and (WeAreSocial, 2012a) report reductions by as much as 50%.
What are the changes?• Changes in weight• Reach? Viral reach?• Negative feedback – the “spam score”• + Promoted Posts will now account for 20% of your newsfeed
Are brands or Facebook in denial?• Facebook has vehemently denied decreasing Page reach stating that it “all depends on what set of pages you’re looking at and how many pages you’re looking at. We’re looking at all the Pages. The median reach did not decrease.”(WeAreSocial, 2012b)
Relevant newsfeeds• Facebook maintains that Edgerank is personal and individual users are presented with the content types they have most interacted with in the past (AllFacebook, 2012) so delivering more relevant content to individual newsfeeds.• Ultimately the question is “Will the user engage with this post?” (AllFacebook, 2012)
Reach and Viral Reach• Jon Loomer (2012) wrote an extensive post pulling together the differing views on the algorithm change. He argues that only 16% of fans would see posts anyway (the window of a post being fresh is perhaps 2 hours and no fan is on Facebook every 2 hours across a 24 hour period). He concluded that the drop in Reach has resulted in more efficient engagement with more desirable content being shown and spammy content/Pages being penalised. So whilst his data shows that Reach has dropped, engagement per fan reached has increased due to a more efficient algorithm.• A later post by (Loomer, 2012b) uncovers what he believes to be the metric that is driving down reach. He found that viral reach is now 14% of what it once was while viral impressions are about 25%. He concludes that “the new problem isn’t reaching our Fans (though that may be down slightly), but our Fans being able to reach their friends with our content.”
The impact for brands• It used to be important to get people to like and comment on a post, because when they did, all their friends would see it too• Not anymore! That is an activity update• Liking and commenting is still important because it increases visibility in the newsfeed but it no longer contributes to generating additional reach towards friends of fans.• Now you need to get them to SHARE
How have I responded?• More text only posts• Questions• Fill-in-the-gaps• HOWEVER “Wow, Marie, I am completely overwhelmed by all the posts, amazing! I am going to sit down with my boy and well go through them all in detail! Love the suggestions also about him composing his own stuff. Many, many thanks.” Liz
Critique• Many social consultancies are encouraging you to create highly engaging posts because that will, in theory, make your future posts more visible to more people. For instance, Simply Measured recommend that you post more "Fill in the blanks" posts because they drive the most engagement.• But is this true? Is Facebook really that shallow, or is there something else going on here that these social consultancies dont see because they are too blinded by their narrow surveys?• From Baekdal (2012) http://bit.ly/TvrevB
Think before you post• Look at your Insights data and learn• Stop posting updates you know will get low engagement, and even worse negative feedback• Post at the optimum time of day• Spend time on creating copy
Relational and relevant posts go further Research into Musicademy Facebook page posts by Marie Page (2012) Classification adapted from Ahuja and Medury (2010)– “Relational” posts ask questions and encourage fan engagement– “Relevant” posts contain information and links highly applicable to the fan base
Thomas Baekdal’s research• Three brands considered:• Avinash Kaushiks brand page: Great page where each post is almost like a mini blog (much longer than the average FB post, and far more in-depth).• Porsche: A good example of a brand that has an optimized Facebook strategy.• Nieman Journalism Lab: Only post links to their articles.
The test was divided into three stages:• First month = to follow but not engage with either brand (to get EdgeRank to give me a lower score)• Week after = to follow six more brands, while still not engaging (to see how the lower score affected the score of the original three brands).• Final week = to engage heavily with Porsche, to see if I could get EdgeRank to favor it over the other pages.
Short posts work best right?• Keep it short and to the point. Posts of 0 to 80 characters have a 27% higher engagement rate.• BUT Avinash (see orange) does it differently – Posts that are more like blogs than updates
Focus on creating long term value• The best performing brand is the one that focused on creating long term value, rather than short term bursts of engagement• Avinash doesnt focus on engagement. He focuses on being influential.• Porsche has more engagement, they experience a bigger initial boost (better in the short term), but over time, Avinash wins because of a higher overall level of exposure (better in the long term).
Promoted posts increase visibility More on Promoted Posts: http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media- marketing/facebook-marketing/new-facebook- feature-alert-promoted-post-ads/
BUT….• Baekdal’s research suggests that they are ineffective• “ I have yet to see a single example where a Promoted post acts in the way that you expect it to”
Downsides?• People dislike being sold to (they see the “sponsored”)• Be careful with friends of fans• Careful of “You suck” backlash• Bots issues – try geographic targeting• Use in moderation