It is with us every single day when logging into our personal profile on Facebook and it even dares to order the content that appears on our feed published by our contacts. In case you still doubt it, we cannot see all the updates on our News Feed published by our added ‘friends’. How come? This is none other than EdgeRank: the algorithm responsible for optimizing every single user’s News Feed and determining the organization and the appearance of that content.
In this recent year, Facebook has changed its functioning on two occasions, which has caused a stir among marketers. And it seems that we are witnessing a struggle between brands and users to see who is the true favourite for this social network that already has 1.650 million users worldwide according to the results reported in the first quarter in 2016, but Facebook seems to be clear with this point: improving the user experience is their priority and perhaps they would like Fan Pages of companies or organizations to increase investment in advertising. So how will brands have to do from now on in order to achieve a major reach and impact with their contents? That is the question.
How do EdgeRank function?
The EdgeRank processes and classifies the information by the relevance having for an user and it is also based on the object and the Edge. The object is the post itself or the status update. The Edge is however any action that is done on an object (create an object is an edge and another edge is when writing a comment, sharing a post or just liking it) .
The information will always appear first in the ticker or teletypewriter (instant information that appears on the right). If the content or information is relevant for the user, Facebook sends it to the News Feed. Otherwise, it will stay in the ticker where it will have a short life. Only if this social network finds that the story is quite relevant for the user, it will place that content into the headline status.
To determine this result, the EdgeRank takes three main factors into account: affinity, weight and time decay.
- Affinity: It is the degree of interaction between the News Feed belonging to the user and the creator of the Edge. This factor is calculated according to the proximity or closeness that the first one has with the creator of Edge and its content.
- Weight: It is the relevance of the content published by the user and it depends on the degree of interaction between users and the post. It refers to the number of times it has been shared, the number of likes and the number of clicks on the post. For the EdgeRank, sharing has a high weight, a comment is calculated as medium-high weight, a like has an average weight and a click, a low weight.
- Time Decay: It refers to the age of the Edge or post since its creation until the time that the user sees on his/her News Feed. The longer time since it was created, the less it likely will appear. This is because Facebook wants the displayed content to be the most recent possible. Nonetheless, it may appear an old post (one day or more) on the News Feed because the actions it has received are the most recent ones (comments, tags, shared and likes).
Users want less ads and more relevant content
Now that we know how the Facebook algorithm works you may wonder what the motivation of this social network was to carry out these changes in its DNA. The clash item: a survey made to users by the company with open profiles which resulted in dissatisfaction with the way that posts were selected to appear in the News Feed.
The company does not want the content to become viral in an “unethical way” getting the easy click. Therefore, the weight of that kind of posts in which are induced to receive comments and likes will be reduced. Likewise, those posts considered spam by users also will end up losing as Facebook supports viral and natural content instead of the one that is forced.
How will new changes in the algorithm affect to Fan Pages?
Facebook consider that this kind of posts are made by corporate profiles, so changes are intended to give preference to the content posted by users’ friends.
These are one of the most significant changes of the EdgeRank:
- Reduction of the importance attached to photos and videos to be shown only once (the number of times will be reduced up to 10%).
- Control of posts that users mark as spam.
- Reduction of Fan Pages reach publishing organic content so they will give preference to friends user content.
- Reach of posts that aims visits to a web and its traffic comes from publications made within Facebook will be also reduced.
Which one is it the most and the least favoured with the EdgeRank changes: users or brands?
Without any doubt, personal profiles are the greatest advantaged of these changes that Facebook is accomplishing but the battle launched by the EdgeRank, marking increasingly distance between users and brands, has still no clear outcome.
Fan Pages will have to reconsider its content strategy in Social Media by publishing less but making a more interesting, funnier and viral content as this is going to be an important variable for this social network.
Another consequence of these changes on Marc Zuckerberg’s social network is the “need” of companies to invest in paid advertising to get more impact and especially visibility with their posts. However, this should not be the only way out. This is where Content Marketing comes into action. Currently, it is vitally important to include this form of promotion in a content strategy so that these contents can provide added value to users and they can be interested in it. Thus, brands will be able to reach the desired target audience.
And you? Have you already planned Content Marketing as a part of your digital strategy?