How Your Brand Can Get the Most Value Out of Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm

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?

 

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.