Understanding Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm

Have you got the sneaking suspicion some of your friends’ updates never appear on your Facebook’s newsfeed? Well, your suspicion is well-founded. Facebook has an algorithm to decide whose updates appear and whose don’t. For Internet marketers, this is bad news because your page’s updates may not be propagated to all of your fans.

So, how does EdgeRank works? How do you ensure that your updates appear on your fan’s newsfeed? I will answer the first question for today’s article. In future, when I have the time, I’ll try to answer the second question.

First, let’s get the definitions right. What is an “edge”? An “edge” is basically any piece of content that can be displayed on the newsfeed. It can be a status update, a ‘like’, a photo upload, a tag, a change in relationship status, and so on—basically every piece of in interaction you have with Facebook. Therefore, the EdgeRank algorithm basically decides which edge gets displayed on an individual profile’s newsfeed. There are basically three inputs to this algorithm: Affinity, Weight and Recency. It combines all these inputs to determine how likely your update will be displayed on your friends or fan’s newsfeed.

Affinity is a measure of how ‘friendly’ you are to with someone or some page. The more you interact with the person/page’s edges, the more ‘friendly’ you are deemed to be. Spy on someone’s profile and the next thing you know, you are seeing that person’s updates. Needless to say, the higher your affinity score with someone or some page, the more likely his/her/its edge will appear in your newsfeed. One subtlety to note is that affinity is one-way. That is, having a close affinity with someone does not mean that he/she will have a close affinity with you.

Weight determines which type (e.g. photo, video, ‘like’, links) of edge is more important for that person. It has been discovered that videos, photos and links tend to have higher weight. One subtlety to note is that weight is subjective—someone who interacts with photos more often will have higher weight for photos. Facebook sometimes intervene in the weight of edges to suit whatever they want to promote strategically.

Recency measures of old a particular edge is. Obviously, the older the edge is, the less important it becomes. More recent edge are more important and thus, more likely to be displayed.

Now that you understand how the EdgeRank algorithm works, you must understand that nobody other than Facebook knows precisely how it works. All the discussions about EdgeRank are basically speculations and deductions.

To get a good approximation of the EdgeRank of your Facebbok page’s edges, go to your page’s Facebook Insights and compare the number of fans to the number of reach for each of the update. The larger the difference, the lower the EdgeRank is likely to be.

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