Recently, Facebook launched a significant update to their News Feed algorithm, called EdgeRank.
Before we get in to the specifics of the update, let’s first take a step back to better understand EdgeRank itself. The goal of Facebook is to show the right content to the right people at the right time in their News Feed. In order to accomplish this goal, Facebook developed an algorithm referred to as EdgeRank. The EdgeRank algorithm, much like Google’s search algorithm, is used to determine what content is displayed and what order it is displayed within a users News Feed. EdgeRank can be understood as the sum of Edges, with each Edge being rated based on three factors; Affinity, Weight and Time Decay. An Edge is defined as everything that happens in Facebook, such as status updates, photos, comments, likes and shares to name a few. Facebook then looks at each Edge that is connected to a user and ranks them in the News Feed based on importance to the user.
Now that you have an understanding of EdgeRank and how the News Feed is ordered, we can dive in to the specifics of the recent update.
In October, Facebook reported that average referral traffic from Facebook to media sites increased by over 170%, nearly tripling in the last year. This trend shows that users want to see more current news in their News Feed. To meet the users changing needs, Facebook has implemented two changes to their algorithm: More Relevant Articles and Comment Stories.
To better understand the impact of these changes, lets dig a little deeper.
More Relevant Articles
A recent Facebook study shows that on average, people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, sports news/events and shared interests. Based on this feedback, EdgeRank will now place more Weight on posts that include links to high quality content. This means that posts that include quality links will be more prominent in a user’s News Feed.
Facebook introduced Story Bumping over the summer, which takes old posts that a user didn’t see and reintroduces them into the News Feed to increase a user’s chance of seeing the post. As an extension of this principle, Facebook has introduced Comment Stories, which displays an update in a user’s News Feed when a Friend comments on a link. Much like the concept of Story Bumping, this update increases the chances of a user seeing relevant posts they may have otherwise missed.
At this point, I’m sure you are wondering what this information means to you and how you can use it to increase your Facebook performance. Here are four things to keep in mind to help improve your Facebook strategy:
1. Focus on engagement
When developing strategies for new posts, focus on ideas that are designed to receive higher comment engagement. The more comments your post receives, the more it will appear in other users News Feed and increase exposure.
2. Post more links
Focus on creating engaging content on your website and then share that content via links to your site in Facebook. Some strategies are case studies, product reviews or photo galleries on your site that you can link to on your Facebook page.
3. Don’t give up on photos
Remember that Facebook still wants to show the right content to the right people at the right time. If your audience wants photos and engages with your photos regularly, Facebook will still apply Weight to photos and display them in the News Feed.
4. Test, test and test again
Test posting content at different times or on different days to learn when your audience is most engaged. Also test posting links to different types of content to see what connects with your audience the most. The more you can learn about gaining engagement from your audience, the better your results will be.
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