Demystifying Facebook Edgerank and Reach Generator


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Sanjay Mehta, Jt CEO of Social Wavelength, gives a simple explanation of the concept of Facebook Edgerank. That concept that creates the filter for any FB user to get a selected range of updates from his friends or brand pages. The same concept due to which only an average of 16% of a page's fans see the page's updates, on their walls. The background of this concept and the concept of reach generator are explained in this presentation.

A video blog version of this presentation has also been uploaded, and same can be viewed at

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Demystifying Facebook Edgerank and Reach Generator

  1. 1. Demystifying FacebookEdgerank and Reach Generator Sanjay Mehta Joint CEO, Social Wavelength
  2. 2. When Facebook revealed..• That only 16% of fans receive updates of a brand page,• That Facebook was going to provide a way for brand pages to reach a larger part of their own fan base,• That Facebook was going to charge for that extra reach… ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE… !
  3. 3. The shouting started..• “Hey, it’s our own fan base..”• “We paid you, to acquire many of these fans in the first place – now you want us to pay you again, to reach them??”• “You didn’t tell this to us before?!”• “Why would you not show our updates to all of our fans??”• “YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO US..!!”
  4. 4. Stronger words were used too..• “This is cheating..”• “Creepy way for Facebook to make money!”• “They are purposely not letting our updates get to our fans, and want us to pay for that!”• “Their stock’s going nowhere, so this is the way they penalize brands!!”• And then once again, “THEY ARE CHEATING!!”
  5. 5. But was that the real story?• No, it was not.• The reality was not communicated too well• That allowed all these strong and negative views to emerge• Recently I saw the head of a digital agency on TV saying, “if they had told us two years back, we’d have had other strategies!”• Yeah, right!
  6. 6. But I don’t blame him..• Well, except for the fact that he should have known better!• Lot of people got that first impression..• That Facebook made us build fan bases, which we thought we could reach without needing to pay anymore thereafter..• And now, they’re going back on their word, and making us pay to reach our own fans..
  7. 7. The reality is different..• And I will try to explain what it is• It is all about demystification• Of the so-called Edgerank concept of Facebook• As much as about the Reach Generator option that Facebook offers – to potentially reach upto 75% of your fan base, from an otherwise average of 16%
  8. 8. Let’s start at the beginning..• When people had a Facebook profile• Had a few friends to whom they were connected on Facebook• And had a few brand pages that they had liked• The friends and the brand pages would put out occasional status updates• And one received all of them, chronologically• All was well!
  9. 9. What changed??• We had more and more of our friends getting connected to us – school friends, childhood buddies, neighbors, ex-colleagues, college pals, current teammates, the PTA members, the neighborhood community of which you were a member, 3rd cousins, in-laws, etc. etc.• We also started liking many brand pages, some applications, some games and what not• So what??
  10. 10. Well, they all “talked”…a lot!• Many friends = many status updates flowing your way; all day long!• Brand pages were active – they had a ‘reach’ to you, without the spam folder in the way• And then there were the games and the apps and they wanted to share a lot of updates• Sooo..ourFacebook walls or our news feeds became busy, and not all updates were so great
  11. 11. It was a worrisome situation!• If a user came to Facebook, got a bunch of updates on his wall, and only few were what he wanted to see• The rest were junk of all kind• The risk was that he’d start disliking Facebook• And not wanting to return, that frequently• That is NOT what Facebook was supposed to be
  12. 12. Facebook needed to do something• To make sure that Facebook remained interesting to it’s users• While it was good to connect to a lot of friends and like a lot of brand pages, finally, a user has to get what he’d like the most• Facebook figured that it’s duty to it’s users was “to give them updates they are most likely to engage with..”
  13. 13. Essentially then, what Facebook’s mandate for users, is: “What is the mostinteresting thing that we show to the user?”
  14. 14. So how did Facebook decide…• What it was that was most important to the user?• Obviously, it had tons and tons of data to learn from, and based on that, come up with the strategy for this..• And what emerged out of this, is what we now know as the Edgerank algorithm of Facebook
  15. 15. But let’s keep the jargon aside..• What Facebook started out with, was to “give users the most interesting things they’d like to get”• Of all the different types of updates that a user used to receive those days, Facebook figured three clear factors that were critical from a user’s point of view
  16. 16. 1. What’s your affinity?• Clearly, if you like someone’s updates, you perhaps want to receive their future updates too..• So an interaction that you have with an update of a friend, or that of a brand page, it shows you have an affinity to that friend/page• So your ‘affinity’ to a friend or a page is a factor that Facebook gives weightage to
  17. 17. 2. The ‘heavier’ the better• “A picture says a 1000 words”; so also, a Facebook update with an image is more interesting than a plain text update• By the same token, a video is even more interesting than a picture, especially in these days of better bandwidth availability• So Facebook figures that a “heavier” update will be more interesting, and gives it weightage
  18. 18. 3. Fresh is best!• Old updates are not that exciting• People love to know the latest stuff• So time is the other crucial aspect - Facebook assigns maximum points for the most recent updates
  19. 19. So this defines EdgeRank• The sum total impact of the three factors, viz. Affinity, Weight, and Time, then decide what updates do manage to land up on your feed• This is also referred to as the EdgeRank algorithm of Facebook• So much for the jargon… simply speaking, those whose updates I connect with, ones with pics and videos, and recent ones, are “interesting” for me..
  20. 20. So where does 16% come?• When FB said that an average brand page reaches only 16% of it’s fans, it looked like they block the updates from reaching the other 84%.• Reality is that based on EdgeRank described earlier, on average, a brand’s updates only make it through to 16% of their audience, and not more
  21. 21. What should a brand do, then?• Of course, the first part is to improve their updates from all EdgeRank factors• But different people like different things• Also people are online at different times• And some have already ignored brand updates for long• Then how can brand recover on weight, time or affinity factors??
  22. 22. The solution..• …is generally a long term one. Slowly but surely, keep working on improving EdgeRank parameters on your updates• Gradually keep winning back, your fans• But that will take ages?!• That’s where Facebook offered an answer for a quicker solution• The Reach Generator..
  23. 23. Jump the fence..• The user’s Facebook wall has a fence and a wicket gate; those whose updates satisfy the EdgeRank algorithm get past the wicket gate• So as a brand that did not make it past the wicket gate, FB offers you a way to jump the fence• By paying the Reach Generator fee!• So THEN you can win back the fan with content again..and increase affinity!
  24. 24. Hope some things got demystified?• Don’t curse FB so much..• Think search engines. What if Google showed you everything that was supposedly about the search term you asked for?• What if it showed you chronological matches?• It doesn’t. It applies some algorithmic factors. And gives what you might be searching for!• So does Facebook now. Not much different!
  25. 25. For more information, contact: Sanjay MehtaJoint CEO @ Social Wavelength Twitter: @sm63