Whenever an author asks me about Facebook, I almost immediately mention Edgerank and am met with a blank stare… As an author, it’s important for you to understand Edgerank since it is IMPORTANT TO EVERYTHING YOU DO ON FACEBOOK.
What the heck is Edgerank?
Simply, it’s the math Facebook does to “rank” the posts in a person’s timeline. The last post someone made would be the one on the top of a newsfeed…Facebook changed this with the goal of getting you to see the posts most interesting to you. The math behind exactly where a post appears is the sum combination of the posts Affinity (What your likelihood is to want to see it), Weight (What others think of it), and Time Decay (time since the post was sent). Let’s dig into these a little bit:
The Affinity of a Post
The affinity score has very little to do with the post and everything to do with the Facebook relationship you have with someone…the more you interact with them, the more likely they are to see whatever you post. Here’s how Affinity breaks down:
- Your Previous Interactions with the author. As a person likes one of your posts, shares a post, comments on posts and other interactions – they become more likely to see our posts. I’m sure that’s why my mother sees all of my posts 🙂
- Your Previous Interactions with the post type. Facebook defines at least three post types: status messages, images, and links. Hint for Part 2 – people tend to respond twice as often to images.
The Weight of a Post
I’m sure you’ve seen something viral come across your Facebook – this one just hit mine a few days ago “Worry About Yourself”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A6Bu96ALOw
How did it show up in my feed? Well Affinity played a part in it, but many others had seen and commented on the video, it showed closer to the top of my feed. A post’s weight is made up of:
- Reactions from people that already saw the post and what they did with it. For example, look at this result of a post:
That’s right – it appeared higher in my timeline because of what others had to say about it.
- Amount of complaints or negative feedback. Yes, it is possible to complain about a post. Things like copyright infringement, pornography, vulgarity are likely to get complaints and Facebook takes it very seriously. To avoid headaches, they bury a post and make sure it rarely appears in a timeline.
The Time Decay of a Post
Time decay is exactly what it sounds like: as a post ages, it will drop in position on a feed. For the most part, you won’t see posts that are months/years old in your feed. In general, you probably won’t see anything more than a few days ago.
For the “Average” Facebook user the top positions for posts in their timeline will be less than 2 to 3 hours old. That amazing post of yours from yesterday? odds are if I didn’t see it yesterday, I won’t see it today.
That’s it for today. I know it’s a lot to take in, but now that you understand this — all of the other things we do on Facebook will make more sense 🙂 In the next part, we’ll discuss how to make these factors work for us to get the most exposure and interactivity on Facebook!