Guest Post: Knowing More About Edgerank Could Give You An Edge on Facebook

Facebook has been around for what seems like ages (in digital years), but there are always new improvements to learn about. Enter Edgerank, which has been around for a while, but may still be an enigma to many.

In today’s guest post Brian Cross, managing partner (and director of rocket science) at Elasticity untangles some of the mystery behind Edgerank and why it should be taken into account when laying out your Facebook campaign strategy.

“The art is to create compelling content people engage and interact with.  The science is working within the parameters of the algorithm to give that content every chance of being seen and discovered,” he writes. Click through to read on.

Edgerank is separating the wheat from the chaff by Brian Cross, managing partner and director of rocket science at Elasticity

Have you noticed you’re not seeing the “lost duck in Farmville” updates on Facebook you used to get all the time? That simple change – welcomed by a nation of users – may actually be costing companies millions in promotions in that social media.

The change is based on an algorithm Facebook uses called Edgerank that acts as the gatekeeper between a brand and its Facebook fans’ newsfeeds. In eliminating the wayward ducks, it also has ended posts about companies’ Facebook promotions.

If you haven’t heard of Edgerank, be aware that the finest minds of Internet marketing and PR are currently trying to crack this code.

Here’s how it works: just like Google uses its Pagerank algorithm to determine where websites and blog posts rank in its web search, Facebook uses Edgerank to decide what posts end up in a Facebook newsfeed. In the past, every post from a friend or company you fanned would show up in your newsfeed, but this clutter was hurting the experience. Now, with Edgerank in place, the goal is to have your users engage with you, so that the algorithm will place your posts on their newsfeeds.

In fact, Facebook has been running something like this in the background for some time, but it wasn’t publicly announced until last year when the company explained how Edgerank could be used to create better content.

This is important because consumers are the creatures of habit on Facebook that they are in every other medium and rarely drift away from their newsfeeds. In fact, 90 percent of all activity in Facebook happens in the newsfeed, leaving those carefully crafted branded Facebook pages pretty lonely unless users are driven there by friends’ posts that get into their Facebook page.

In short, if you’re not showing up in your fans’ newsfeeds, you’re dead on Facebook.

Besides the end of the “lost duck” updates, the other welcome change is the bar for agencies in social media has been raised from “we’ll get you a cool Facebook page” to “we’ll get you a Facebook page that shows up in people’s newsfeeds.” This will emphasize the art AND science of social media.  The art is to create compelling content people engage and interact with.  The science is working within the parameters of the algorithm to give that content every chance of being seen and discovered.

This also brings up the advent of the next hot battleground in the social media space: “Social Media Optimization” or “Newsfeed Optimization.” And it matters.  Businesses are utilizing social media more and more, and being “found” is crucial.

The standard approach to engaging Facebook users is the standard promotion tactics and gimmicks like software, polls, games, and points-based programs that enable the brands.  If they don’t have personality behind them, games and tools can only work for so long.  Content is what really matters and how you “act” and “engage” in social media says more about your “brand personality” than a logo change, color studies or a font choice.

We like to joke that in dating, dressing up only gets you so far, at some point in the relationship you need to have a personality to really connect with someone.

On Facebook, the first date is over and a lot of brands who aren’t keeping up may be waiting in vain for the phone to ring.

Publish date: April 21, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT