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Facebook Edgerank
The latest updates and
what to do about it




Marie Page BA (hons), FCIM, Chartered Marketer, PGCE
   •   Director, Musicademy
   •   Digital Marketing Practitioner
   •   CIM/CAM Tutor & Examiner
   •   Blogger for Smart Insights

   •   @Marie_Page
*&”!
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
Facebook Edgerank
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 people's 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 posts
increased 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.”
Facebook Edgerank
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 we'll 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 don't see because they are too blinded
  by their narrow surveys?
• From Baekdal (2012) http://bit.ly/TvrevB
Content ideas – Fill in the gaps
Facebook Edgerank
Ask for Engagement
• “Like this if you drink tea, Comment if you
  drink coffee, Share if you just want a beer”
People follow instructions
Seize every opportunity
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
When you have great content milk it
Use polls & ask questions
Source: Buddy Media (2011)
Make it relevant and engaging
Use humour
                   Average Effectiveness of Funny
                         Posts - All Pages
                 50.00%
                 45.00%
                 40.00%
Effectiveness


                 35.00%
                 30.00%
                 25.00%
                 20.00%
                 15.00%
                 10.00%
                  5.00%
                  0.00%
                                      Amplification      Engagement
                            Reach %
                                           %                 %
                Funny       45.25%       7.85%             4.85%
                Not Funny   32.16%       5.28%             4.61%




                                                      Marie Page (2012), Msc Research
Funny posts have more reach, virality and
              engagement

                                    Musicademy Funny
                         60.00%
                         50.00%
        Effectiveness



                         40.00%
                         30.00%
                         20.00%
                         10.00%
                          0.00%
                                    Reach %   Amplification %   Engagement %
                        Not Funny   30.61%        3.73%            2.97%
                        Funny       51.66%       19.33%            21.33%




                                                        Marie Page (2012), Msc Research
Content ideas – Humour
Content ideas – Humour
Content ideas – Humour
Allow fans to be funny
Ride Memes
Make it newsworthy
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
Controversy
Thomas Baekdal’s research
• Three brands considered:
• Avinash Kaushik's 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 doesn't 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).
Facebook Edgerank
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
Facebook Edgerank
Recent
Promoted Posts
Video – YouTube vs Facebook vids

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Facebook Edgerank

  • 1. Facebook Edgerank The latest updates and what to do about it Marie Page BA (hons), FCIM, Chartered Marketer, PGCE • Director, Musicademy • Digital Marketing Practitioner • CIM/CAM Tutor & Examiner • Blogger for Smart Insights • @Marie_Page
  • 3. 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
  • 5. They may be fans but do they see your updates? 203% PTAT!
  • 6. 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
  • 7. EdgeRank is now based on four things: • Yours and other people's 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
  • 8. What does Edgerank hide? When EdgeRank is applied, updates from brand pages dropped 61%, friend posts increased by 33%, and activity updates (friend actions) dropped by 81%.
  • 9. 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)
  • 10. 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%.
  • 11. 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
  • 12. 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)
  • 13. 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)
  • 14. 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.”
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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 we'll go through them all in detail! Love the suggestions also about him composing his own stuff. Many, many thanks.” Liz
  • 18. 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 don't see because they are too blinded by their narrow surveys? • From Baekdal (2012) http://bit.ly/TvrevB
  • 19. Content ideas – Fill in the gaps
  • 21. Ask for Engagement • “Like this if you drink tea, Comment if you drink coffee, Share if you just want a beer”
  • 24. 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
  • 25. When you have great content milk it
  • 26. Use polls & ask questions
  • 28. Make it relevant and engaging
  • 29. Use humour Average Effectiveness of Funny Posts - All Pages 50.00% 45.00% 40.00% Effectiveness 35.00% 30.00% 25.00% 20.00% 15.00% 10.00% 5.00% 0.00% Amplification Engagement Reach % % % Funny 45.25% 7.85% 4.85% Not Funny 32.16% 5.28% 4.61% Marie Page (2012), Msc Research
  • 30. Funny posts have more reach, virality and engagement Musicademy Funny 60.00% 50.00% Effectiveness 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Reach % Amplification % Engagement % Not Funny 30.61% 3.73% 2.97% Funny 51.66% 19.33% 21.33% Marie Page (2012), Msc Research
  • 34. Allow fans to be funny
  • 37. 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
  • 39. Thomas Baekdal’s research • Three brands considered: • Avinash Kaushik's 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.
  • 40. 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.
  • 41. 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
  • 42. 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 doesn't 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).
  • 44. Promoted posts increase visibility More on Promoted Posts: http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media- marketing/facebook-marketing/new-facebook- feature-alert-promoted-post-ads/
  • 45. 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”
  • 46. 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
  • 49. Video – YouTube vs Facebook vids