The following post is a follow-up on the ongoing discussion about the recent changes in Edgerank algorithm affecting Facebook reach and engagement. We find the subject to be of great importance to brands, which is why we keep you up-to-date and share the most relevant news on the matter.

This week, Group M Next shared a report called “Gaining an Edge: The Brand Impact of Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm Change” where Group M Next Predictive Insights team, together with the GroupM–owned social media and community activation agency M80, share results from an analysis, conducted across the Facebook pages of 25 brands.

 

 

Here is a summary of the main points:

Organic Reach

According to the paper, prior to the Edgerank algorithm changes, brands had an average reach of 16 %. Today, the percentage of users that see an organic post by a brand they like has dropped with about 38 %. When we look into the different types of content, however, status updates have actually increased with about 20 % in reach after the Edgerank algorithm change. The same tendency was also recently mentioned in an Edgerank blog article explaining that one of the possible reasons for status updates to outreach photos might be due to negative feedback reports caused by “spammy” photo strategies: This is explained further here:

“Facebook also confirms they are looking at negative feedback to determine the quality of the post. Mathematically, we look at negative feedback as simply another Edge, but with a negative value. We hypothesized that the weight of a negative feedback Edge was increased significantly with the most recent Edgerank change in September 2012. Brands that tend to receive a lot of negative feedback might have been impacted more drastically because of this.”

 

Engagement

A fact that might be a relief to brand managers is that according to the paper, Engagement on posts in the form of comments, likes and shares has significantly increased by 96%, from 0.76% before the algorithm change to 1.49% after the change.

Most types of content now produce more stories or active forms of participation (likes, comments, shares) per impression:

 

 

Prior to the algorithm change, roughly 2.7 % of a post’s impressions resulted in a more passive form of user consumption such as views, clicks. After this change, nearly 4.3% of impressions result in this kind of passive engagement:

 

 

What it means for you

What the report basically outlines, is that the content you post on your Facebook page is now being better targeted to a lower number of fans: Fans who have already been engaged with your page and have a higher affinity for your brand.  This means that you have to concentrate your efforts on turning those Fans into “Superfans” and maximize engagement with them by producing quality content.

Additionally, one of the most read and respected digital media visionaries, Brian Solis, suggest the idea about “Context is King” as a future tendency in managing Facebook brand pages.  He predicts that in today’s social media environment, “Context” is what will become the king. Customers form relationships in “the social graph”, from which connections, based on relevance, form the interest graph. And, it is the interest graph where context serves as the future of marketing and customer engagement. Solis explains“In social networks, people stitch together social networks based on their relationships, interests, and aspirations to personalize their online experience.” Because of the contextual nature of relationships and conversations in social media and in order to constantly improve its Edgerank algorithm, “Facebook is pushing marketers toward interests combined with demographics to introduce contextual opportunities that are more relevant thus increasing the likelihood for engagement.”

 

To summarize, Facebook continues to optimize users’ news feed to make it more relevant to them. The biggest challenge for your brand now is to not only figure out what content works best for your audience. You also need to consider the contextual nature of your fans relationships and conversations to keep the engagement rates high and get the most value out of your social media activities.  Even in this frustrating, constantly changing social environment, one truth always remains the same: If you manage to discover the influencers among your brands’ fans, establish valuable, loyal and lasting relationships with them and eventually turn them into ambassadors, you are definitely on the right track getting the most out of your social media efforts.

 

What kind of changes  in your brand’s Facebook page reach and engagement have you noticed? What is your vision for the future? Is “Context” really going to become king?

 

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