Last week Facebook updated its algorithm, which determines what shows up in users’ news feeds. The company has never fully disclosed how the algorithm, called EdgeRank, works, but there is much speculation about it. Social media marketing gurus are always trying to stay one step ahead of the game to determine how they can get their content front and center and get the most “likes,” comments and shares on their posts.
How EdgeRank Works
While it’s impossible to know exactly how EdgeRank works, a few things about the algorithm are known, especially now that Facebook has updated it and publicly acknowledged some of the changes. A new post on the Facebook blog states that the purpose of the news feed is to “deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.”
With this goal in mind, Facebook analyzes an average of 1,500 posts from your friends to decide which ones to show you in your feed. It looks at things like how often you interact with a friend, the number of “likes,” comments and shares a post gets, and how much you have interacted with the type of post in the past, among other factors, to determine what posts from your friends and the pages you “like” to show in your news feed.
This is a complicated process and is the machine behind Facebook. The algorithm has been updated periodically, and this latest update may spur social media marketers to alter the way they use Facebook to market their business.
One of the biggest changes to the news feed makes it possible for users to see older posts at the top of their feeds. When someone logs into Facebook, scrolls through some posts on their feed, and then logs out, missing some of the posts at the bottom of the page, those posts can be brought to the top of the feed again.
The Benefit: Facebook says that this change brought 8 percent more “likes,” comments and shares to posts made by business pages. Facebook also reported that before this change, users only read about 57 percent of the posts in their news feed while after the change, they read about 70 percent of the posts. So, your posts could be seen by more people, which will help your campaigns be more successful.
Facebook will now analyze a person’s last 50 interactions to decide what to show in that person’s news feed. People and pages that were most recently interacted with will have a small advantage over the person’s other connections when it comes to how posts will appear in the feed.
The Benefit: When your followers interact with your posts on a regular basis, they will most likely see more of your posts in their news feed. The key is to garner constant interactions with your target market.
Another update, which hasn’t been put into use yet, will make it possible for posts about real-time events to appear at the top of peoples’ news feeds. The algorithm will try to determine which posts contain information about an event happening at the time of posting, and then put those posts at the top of feeds so they will be seen at a more relevant time.
The Benefit: If your business uses Facebook to post about events like conferences, product unveilings, or networking events, your posts could be more visible to your followers when they are relevant. If your fans post about your events, their posts will also appear at the top of feeds and will probably be seen by more people.
Facebook’s latest algorithm update could be very beneficial to businesses. Start taking advantage of the changes by working for constant interaction with your fans and using social media to promote your events both before they happen and while they are happening.