Ebook Edgerank Unveiled_Wildfire
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How can you maximize the amount of fans you reach and engage with branded newsfeed updates?

How can you maximize the amount of fans you reach and engage with branded newsfeed updates?

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Ebook Edgerank Unveiled_Wildfire Document Transcript

  • 1. IntroductionDid you know that no matter how manyfans you have on Facebook, your brandedmessages are only reaching a fraction ofthem at any given time? The amount ofusers exposed to your branded contentis dependent on a Facebook-createdalgorithm called EdgeRank. Your brand,and its public posts, are graded with an ever-changing EdgeRank score, and that scoredetermines how far each message goes andhow many users it reaches.Comscore found that Facebook usersspend approximately one quarter oftheir time on the network interacting withtheir news feeds, so the obvious questionis: How can you maximize the amount offans you reach and engage with brandednewsfeed updates? Wildfire paired upwith the experts at EdgeRank Checker toanalyze over 60,000 brand pages and 1Mposts, and separated the data by industryvertical. This report will analyze the bestperforming content by vertical, and providetips for improving your EdgeRank scorebased on the trends we uncovered. ‹ ›
  • 2. News Feed on Facebook: More to the Story................................................. 3The Study......................................................................................................................4 What Was Studied?.........................................................................................................4 Engagement By Content Type................................................................................... 5 Best/Worst Description Lengths by Content Type for all Categories......... 7 Industry Categories on Facebook.............................................................................9Engagement Data by Category......................................................................... 10 Brand or Product............................................................................................................ 10 Local Business..................................................................................................................12 Company, Organization, or Institution................................................................... 14 Cause or Community.................................................................................................... 16 Artist, Band or Public Figure..................................................................................... 18 Entertainment................................................................................................................. 203rd Party Apps..........................................................................................................21Conclusion..................................................................................................................22 ‹ ›PAGE 2 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 3. News Feed on Facebook: More to the StoryMany businesses are rushing to build their Facebook fanbases, but what’s the value of a fan if you don’t know how toeffectively get their attention?The comScore study showed that, on average, 16% of a fan page’s fans are reached by branded content when abrand posts five out of seven days. To increase the reach of its branded content, a brand needs to focus on makingits posts highly engaging, since this increases the likelihood that the content will appear in more users’ newsfeeds.To understand the relationship between engagement and reach on Facebook, we need to take a deeper look at theEdgeRank Algorithm.EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to determine what you see in your newsfeed. The EdgeRank Algorithm, asdefined by Jason Kincaid from the live f8 developer conference, is: Every item that shows up in your News Feed is considered an Object. If you have an Object in the News Feed (say, a status update), whenever another user interacts with that Object they’re creating what Facebook calls an Edge, which includes actions like tags and comments.Facebook does not disclose the details of the algorithm that determines EdgeRank, but it’s believed that it consists ofthree main factors:1. First, there’s an affinity score between the viewing user and the item’s creator — if you send your college friend a lot of Facebook messages and check their profile often, then you’ll have a higher affinity score for that person than you would with the “friends” you added on Facebook but haven’t interacted with in months. Likewise, if a fan interacts with a brand by visiting its Facebook brand page or interacting with its posts, this will boost the affinity score between this brand and its fan.2. Second, there’s a weight given to each type of Edge. While it has not been confirmed by Facebook, testing has shown that content types that take more time to engage with have higher weight. For example, a “Like” has less engagement weight than a comment, most likely because hitting the “Like” button is a much easier action for a user to decide to do, versus writing a comment. The same analogy applies to photos likely having more weight than just words.3. And finally there’s the most logical factor — time. The older an Edge is, the less important it becomes.When you understand how the scoring is done, you can see why having a high EdgeRank, or at least working toimprove it over time, is the key to increasing the exposure of your page to Facebook users, driving more traffic to it,and continuously building out your community. ‹ ›PAGE 3 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 4. You are probably wondering several things: What kind of posts work? How often should I post? Where can I find allthese rules? The answer is, there are no ‘one size fits all’ approach; each brand must tailor its strategy to fit thedemographics, behaviors and interests of its fans and their friends.The good news is that there are certain tactics that we’ve seen work again and again across many differentbrand pages. In this report, we will take a look at what sort of strategies work for messaging at the industry verticallevel. We will use real life examples to illustrate messaging methods from companies that know how to engagetheir fans.The StudyWhat Was Studied?The study analyzed how categories, content type, and character length work together. We looked at over 60,000Pages with over 1,000,000 Posts, looking at the six “macro” categories Facebook defines:» Artist, Band or Public Figure» Brand or Product» Cause or Community» Company, Organization or Institution» Entertainment» Local Business or Place.EdgeRank is an algorithm that ranks objects in the Facebook News Feed. Pages with high EdgeRank Scores will bemore likely to show up in the News Feed than Pages with low EdgeRank Scores.EdgeRank is made up of 3 variables: Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay. While the variables are known, the algorithmchanges daily and is not shared with the public. EdgeRank Checker has developed their own approximationof the EdgeRank algorithm to help Page Administrators understand how their Page interacts with the News Feed.Within this report, you will learn about engagement on Facebook with the understanding that increasing yourengagement by employing messaging best practices will increase your EdgeRank score, which in turn will increasethe reach of your brand’s messages. This, ultimately, is every brand marketer’s goal: to maximize reach onall networks. ‹ ›PAGE 4 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 5. Since EdgeRank is based on engagement activity — the more engagingyour posts, the higher your EdgeRank, and vice versa — our study hinged We define engagementon engagement statistics for brands, separated by industry. We define as interactions with yourengagement as interactions with your content by fans: all the “Likes,”comments, and shares that result (or don’t result!) when your brand posts content by fans: all thean update to the public. “Likes,” comments, andFor each of the 1MM+ posts that were analyzed, we looked at shares that result (or don’tengagement statistics as defined by engagement activity/total reach per result!) when your brandpost. Both of those figures are available only at an admin-level to Fan posts an update to thePage administrators, and are shared by over 60,000 pages withEdgeRank Checker as part of its service. public.The remainder of this report will focus on engagement statistics bycontent type: which content is most engaging to fans of different FACTindustry verticals? What are the best practices your brand should Photos are by far theconsider to include more of the engaging content in your messagingstrategy? What types of messages will work best to be most engaging, most engaging pieceand thus increase your EdgeRank with users? What follows is our analysis of content.of these questions.Engagement by Content TypeWhen comparing all 1MM+ posts across the 60,000 pages that weprocessed, we found that; photos are by far the most engaging piece ofcontent.Typically Photos are:» Eye catching» Heavier (in terms of weight assigned within EdgeRank)» Easier to consume than other media contentUsers don’t have to press “Play” and dedicate time to watching a videoto try and ascertain whether it’s entertaining and they don’t have to clickthrough a link to a new website or tab to see if it’s interesting when theyget there. With a photo, users decide within a glance whether they’reinterested or not— the high engagement results reflect this simplicity andease of interaction. ‹ ›PAGE 5 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 6. Interestingly, the second most engaging content type is a status message— this result lends itself well to the sametheory, of users reacting favorably to instantaneous (or at least very quick) interactions and decision making. With astatus, since it’s just words, users know by the time they’ve finished reading the statement whether they’re going tointeract with it, or let it pass. With all other content types (aside from photos) the user needs to decide whether hewants to invest the time to click, or watch, or investigate the URL. Asking users to spend this extra time ponderingengagement is, on average, less successful than keeping things simple with instantaneously possible engagementdecisions.This is not to say that videos and links have no place in your messaging strategy. In this paper, we will also learn howbest to frame videos and links to most appeal to users viewing these updates. ‹ ›PAGE 6 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 7. Best/Worst Description Lengths by Content FACTType for all Categories All 5 content typesWe chose to study the effects of a written description paired with different showed the mostcontent types: for example, is it better to write more when you’redescribing a link you’re about to share, or less? We defined “Short” engagement when thedescriptions as those that have <140 characters, because that’s the paired description hadcharacter cut-off Twitter designed to keep content short, sweet, and to a minimum of 141the point. “Medium” content descriptions are 141-280 characters, and characters.“Long” content is greater than 281 characters.It’s interesting to note that; all 5 content types showed the mostengagement when the paired description had a minimum of 141 FACTcharacters. In this case, Twitter-length posts are not as popular orengaging as longer posts on Facebook. This would also seem to imply In order to be asthat if cross posting to both Twitter and Facebook at the same time, it engaging as possible,would decrease engagement on Facebook if you attempted to keep both your brand should postcharacter lengths below 140 characters. two separate lines of content, for Twitter and Facebook separately, as longer Facebook posts won’t fit on Twitter, and Twitter-length posts won’t engage users as well on Facebook. ‹ ›PAGE 7 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 8. One way of understanding this involves givingusers context, and a brief explanation of “why”they should look at the attached media.Additionally, the paired worded description isalso a perfect place to insert a call-to-action(CTA), giving users a suggestion about what todo next.More specifically, posting a video withoutpairing the update with a written description isa major no-no: these updates were the worstperformers of the bunch, indicating that videois one format that users need context around inorder to take the time to interact with it. FACT Posting a video without pairing the update with a written description is a major no-no. Releasing only a photo, or only a video, without taking the time to meaningfully caption it is always worse for engagement. ‹ ›PAGE 8 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 9. Industry Categories on FacebookFacebook defines 6 industry categories under the macro-level category options:» Artist, Band, or Public Figure» Brand or Product» Cause or Community» Company, Organization, or Institution» Local Business or Place» Entertainment Facebook defines six industry verticals under the macro-level Fan Page category options. ‹ ›PAGE 9 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 10. We analyzed the success of each type of status update and separated the data FACTby industry category. We wanted to see if there were differences in the types ofcontent most engaging to users based on industry, or if content preferences would Photos werebe more or less universal. And we did find some clear differences in what fans wildly popular forliked to engage with based on industry vertical category. For instance, we found engagement,that photos were wildly popular for engagement, especially for brands/products(a near 7.5% engagement percentage, versus less than 1% engagement for the especially fornext most engaging media, status updates). brands/products.Engagement Data by CategoryIn this section, we’ll break down the engagement data per content type by the 6 brand macro-categories thatFacebook has sorted pages into at the top level. Additionally, we’ll take a look at the types of businesses that wouldself-select into each category, including best practices for messaging content for these businesses.Brand or ProductFan Pages on Facebook that identify as Brand orProduct enjoy significantly higher than average en-gagement when posting photos, at over 7x higherinteraction rates than the next closest engaging con-tent type, Status. Brand/Product Fan Pages on Face-book should consider weaving photos prominently intoa messaging plan, including to support descriptionsthat would otherwise stand alone as Status updates.Because brands and products seem to be inordinatelypopular when posting photos, one good methodto integrate more photos into status updates is toconsider how the brand can create “double-whammy”posts. A double whammy post is one that has morethan one media type contained within it— for example,when posting an update about a new product release,consider creating the visual foundation for the updatewith a screenshot (photo) of the new release, but alsomake sure to include a link a site with more informationabout the news within the worded description. ‹ ›PAGE 10 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 11. One brand that fully understands the high impact that photo updates have is Dunkin Donuts. Whether the page postsa question, poll, or a timely update about a calendar holiday, the majority of status updates on the DD page arephoto updates. Whether a page posts a question, or a poll, or a timely update about a calendar holiday, the majority of status updates on the DD page are photo updates. ‹ ›PAGE 11 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 12. Local BusinessLocal Businesses experience great engagement with photos and videos about the business. While the first instinctof many small business owners might be to play up their interactions to seem like a big brand, some of the mostengaging posts are the ones that reveal the business in its true element. This could include pictures of the storefrontdecorated seasonally, updates including local activity (such as any well known city/town events), and pictures with“favorite” local customers. ‹ ›PAGE 12 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 13. Another popular and engaging approach for local businesses is to create status updates tied to in-store specials,such as informing fans that the first 50 people to whisper “founding father” to the cashier that day would receive afree dark chocolate cupcake. Sprinkles Cupcakes, with over 300K fans (and many, many local shops) still does thiswith their messages several times a week! Sprinkles Cupcakes makes sure to regularly include in-store promotions with their messaging to make the connection between social media activity and what’s going on inside each local business location. In this case, they’re following another best practice, posting about timely and relevant content (the national holiday) in addition to their promotion. ‹ ›PAGE 13 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 14. Company, Organization, or InstitutionBrands that self identify as companies, organizations, or institutions choose to represent the company/organization/institution as the brand. This means that updates detailing organizational achievements anddevelopments will be frequent, as well as behind-the-scenes information that exposes company workings, such asemployee events and company traditions. As is typical, photos were the most popular content type. Interestingly,videos and status updates are very similar in engagement rates, indicating a wide versatility in the types of statusupdates that these brands can expect to be engaging for their audiences. While links happen to be the least popular,savvy brand managers can include links to outside articles, releases, and updates as part of other content updates,employing the same “double-whammy” technique to increase engagement rates. ‹ ›PAGE 14 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 15. Successful organizations wishing to represent the essence of the company to its fan audience see a lot of successespecially when posting content that “humanizes” the brand. Showing a company’s behind-the-scenes activity, orprofiles of real employees, in photos and videos, helps to emotionally connect users to a brand. For fan pages of thiscategory, one best practice is never to miss an opportunity to share company-internal initiatives such as Hackathons,corporate social responsibility initiatives, employee traditions, and internal fun stuff (like Levi’s does, below!). Just in time for Halloween, Levi’s gives fans a glimpse of real employees in festive costumes. ‹ ›PAGE 15 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 16. Cause or CommunityThe Cause or Community vertical is particularly successful in engagement around photos and videos. The remainingcontent type statistics indicate that links might perform better if they are paired with photos (as part of thedescription) than they do as their own updates.Since Causes and Communities are typically followed by users at least marginally impassioned about the underlyingcause of the page, we can typically expect that updates relating to progress in society or specific people involvedwith the cause are very popular. Supporting a cause usually goes hand in hand with helping to spread the word aboutit, so crafting status updates that incentivize sharing is a successful strategy. ‹ ›PAGE 16 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 17. For example, some status update ideas that resonate with Cause/Community pages are: Weekly survivor/tribute/warrior stories: pages for disease awareness organizations succeed at uniting users around other real users (or their friends, children, and family.) Asking users to submit photos of their friends/family involved in the cause with written descriptions of their story. Updates about latest legislation or news-making changes involving the community serve to rally users around important updates that apply to their interests. The Breast Cancer Site regularly encourages engagement with multi-content type messages, like this one which has a photo paired with a call-to-action and a link. ‹ ›PAGE 17 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 18. Artist, Band or Public FigureBrands that identify as Artists, Bands, or Public enjoy solid engagement rates with photos followed by statusupdates. A close third is videos, which makes sense since all three entities typically have very visual representations.Some ways an artist, band, or public figure can consider beefing up their messaging strategy with engagingcontent is to: Take a series of before/after photos chronicling their transformation after getting hair/makeup done and writing a description of the process (photo) Asking fans which song/movie/episode/scene was a favorite – make this more timely by calling out specific albums/episodes When posting a link that goes to another website, use a photo of a destination within that website to help serve as teaser content (show fans what they’ll see when they click through) ‹ ›PAGE 18 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 19. Below is one example of a best practice for posting photos that actually serve as clever advertising for the linkwithin the description. President Bill Clinton employs this method on his fan page regularly: in addition to healthydescriptions that end in a link to an outside website, Clinton always pairs the content with a relevant photo, to catchviewers attention and attract eyeballs to the post. Administrators for Bill Clinton’s Facebook Fan Page regularly post photo updates with lengthy descriptions, allowing readers a contextual background for the former President’s activity in addition to a visual stimulus. ‹ ›PAGE 19 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 20. EntertainmentThe outlier in this industry overview turned out to be Entertainment. The most successfully engaging posts by brandsin the Entertainment vertical are status updates. One hypothesis as to why this might be true — for actors, singers,and musicians— is that where Entertainment is the job of the brand (or person(s) represented by the brand),fans are used to seeing photos and videos, but not as used to seeing an Entertainer’s personally writtenupdates. Status updates are novel and intriguing to an audience that is used to visually connecting with a performeror entertainer.Some entertainers appeal to their Facebook fan audience by treating them as though they’re the entertainers’ VIPs.Ask your fans their opinions on the latest single, or album. Release a snippet of new lyrics, or an idea for a movie plotand ask their thoughts. Soliciting opinions shows fans that not only is the fan page attended to by administrators, butthat it’s a 2-way conversation between the entertainer and fans. If the fan page is for an entertainment product, suchas a specific movie or sitcom, the same principle of treating fans like VIPs applies— share snippets of video and askwhat moment fans thought was funniest, or a photo-still of the winning shot and ask them to caption it. Bringing fansin to the experience of creating that entertainment makes them feel like “insiders,” and spurs interaction. ‹ ›PAGE 20 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 21. Lady Gaga interacts with fans on a personal level, sharing her intimate thoughts about a night at the Grammies and wishing her fans a Happy Valentine’s Day.3rd Party Apps Are you wondering about posting to Facebook using an app and if that changes anything? We thought you might be...3rd party applications can be used to post content to Facebook without actually being on Facebook to do it. Theseinclude free and paid applications like Hootsuite, Spredfast, and even Wildfire Messenger. One common question thatcomes up around using an app to post to Facebook (instead of doing it from the network itself) is whether the apppost will get the same exposure and the same reach as the post coming from inside Facebook.EdgeRank Checker has done extensive testing to see whether posts released to Facebook from a 3rd party app sawany difference in reach or impressions versus posts released through Facebook. When the first studies uneartheda difference, Facebook immediately updated posting processes fixing the imbalance. At the current time, there is nodifference between the reach and exposure of posts published through Facebook or 3rd party apps. What aboutengagement rates? If the reach is the same, there should be no significant difference in engagement rates of 3rd partapp postings. The bottom line is: follow best practices regarding posting content, and the vehicle forposting it won’t matter. ‹ ›PAGE 21 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 22. ConclusionThe amount of reach your brand has on Facebook is limited by a constantly-updating algorithmic score calledEdgeRank. EdgeRank is an engagement score, giving credit (and impressions) to brands that successfully engagewith fans, and lessening the reach of brands that don’t. While the algorithm itself is unknown to the public andis constantly changing, we can approximate directional EdgeRank changes by understanding engagement asit happens.When Wildfire teamed up with EdgeRank Checker to understand engagement scores by industry category, we werelooking to educate brands on how best to create consistently engaging messages on Facebook. What we found wasthat certain types of updates were more popular than others, and sparked more engagement activity. The three keytake-aways we want you to keep in mind when approaching your brand’s messaging strategy are:1. sprinkle photos (the most consistently engaging content type for five out of six industries) generously into your editorial plans.2. always pair your media-containing updates with a written description as well— data reveals that users appreciate and interact more with updates that include written context, or a written call-to-action, not just a photo, video, or link.3. craft different content for Facebook vs. Twitter. In all cases, the best performing messages contained greater than 140 characters (the maximum message length for Twitter)Now that you know what sorts of content types perform most consistently for your industry, the next area ofexploration is the actual content. Stay in touch with Wildfire as we release more white papers about best practicesfor engaging messaging. ‹ ›PAGE 22 | EdgeRank Unveiled: The Three Keys to Improving Facebook Reach and Engagement
  • 23. Wildfire is a powerful, easy-to-use social marketing platform to grow, engage andmonetize your audience across social networks. Learn how we can help you today! WATCH VIDEO SIGN UP NOW Redwood City Chicago info@wildfireapp.com sales.chi@wildfireapp.com (888) 274-0929 (312) 496-7971 New York City London sales.ny@wildfireapp.com sales.eu@wildfireapp.com (646) 503-2166 +44 (0)20 7189 8344 Los Angeles sales.la@wildfireapp.com (310) 280-2098