Facebook EdgeRank: Simplified


Last week I attended the Chinwag and Our Social Times conference on Facebook Marketing which was excellent. The topic I found most interesting was Facebook’s EdgeRank, but when asked how many of us know about the algorithm, I was surprised by the lack of hands that showed.

It’s actually quite a simple concept and one all Facebook Marketeers should be aware of. The following Q&A explains all you really need to know about Facebook’s EdgeRank and how to manipulate it to boost your Facebook marketing activity.

What is an Edge?

An Edge is an action on Facebook. Examples of Edges are status updates, comments, likes, and shares. Simply put, anything that happens within Facebook is an Edge.

What Does EdgeRank Do?

EdgeRank is the algorithm that ranks Edges in the Facebook News Feed. EdgeRank assesses the Edges that are connected to a User and ranks each Edge in order of importance. Objects with the ‘highest’ EdgeRank will usually go to the top of the News Feed.

What is the EdgeRank algorithm?

Simply put, EdgeRank is the sum of Edges, each Edge is made up of (Affinity, Weight, & Decay). This may sound complicated at first, but when you begin to understand the underlying concept, it’s actually a really simple and effective algorithm.

What is Affinity?

Affinity is best understood by how close of a “relationship” a Brand or User and a Fan or User may have with one another. Affinity is developed through repeat interactions with a Brand or User’s Edges. Actions such as Commenting, Liking, Sharing, Clicking, and even Messaging can influence a User’s Affinity. It’s worth noting that Affinity is one-way, for example, if a User engages with Coca-Cola’s Edges regularly, they are more likely to receive Coca-Cola’s future Edges in their newsfeed. But Coca-Cola will not necessarily receive that particular User’s Edges unless Coca-Cola chooses to engage with that User’s Edges too. Interestingly, Users who are displayed in your chat window are Users who you have a high Affinity with.

What is Weight?

Weight is a value system which orders certain actions within Facebook. Commenting is more involved and therefore deemed more valuable than a Like. In the weighting system, Comments would have a higher value than a Like. In this system all Edges are assigned a value chosen by Facebook. As a general rule, Edges that take the most time to accomplish, tend to weigh more.

As a rule of thumb, for engagement Edges we generally say Shares > Comments > Likes > Clicks. For content type Edges we’ve seen Videos > Photos > Status Updates > Links.

What is Decay?

Decay refers to the time that the Edge has existed; the older it is, the less likely it is to rank highly in the news feed. As an Edge ages, it loses value. This helps keep the News Feed fresh with interesting new content, as opposed to old content that has been viewed before – from Facebook’s point of view, this is great as it keeps Users coming back.

Why is EdgeRank Important?

If a Brand generally has low EdgeRank updates, the Brand’s updates will be seen by less people. This means that their Facebook marketing budget is being less effective than it could be. Brands that are succeeding with high EdgeRank objects are leveraging their Facebook budget by multitudes. The difference between leveraging and being punished by EdgeRank is substantial. The difference can result in a 5x difference in exposure.

How do I ensure I have high EdgeRank?

Achieving a high EdgeRank is relatively simple – all you need to do is satisfy each of the three components; Affinity, Weight, Decay. To build Affinity with Users, post engaging content that will attract engagement – a controversial status update, a comical image or something else that that encourages a reaction. For weight, remember Shares > Comments > Likes > Clicks. For content type Edges Videos > Photos > Status Updates > Links. Finally, post regularly to ensure your content is fresh in order to satisfy the Decay element of the algorithm. If you keep all this in mind, your Facebook marketing will have a much higher return on investment.

Photo (cc) Sean MacEntee