How to Improve Your News Feed Ranking on Facebook

Edgerank Facebook

According to a research done by comScore called “The Power of Like: How Brands Reach and Influence Fans Through Social Media Marketing”, users on Facebook spend the majority of their time, more specifically 27% of their time, looking at news feeds and homepages. This is great news for companies, as it goes to show that their efforts on Facebook are not wasted! The engagement with branded content mostly happens through the news feed and not on pages. In fact, according to the comScore research results, users are 40-150 times more likely to consume branded content in the news feed than, visit the fan page itself. Keeping this statistic in mind, it is imperative that companies should put most of their effort into optimizing their news feed posts, in order to reach the greatest amount users.

However, each post a company publishes only reaches a small fraction of its total fan base via the news feed. We conclude this based on an algorithm called EdgeRank, as Facebook calls it. In the following, I will explain how the algorithm EdgeRank works, according to a white paper released by internet marketing research company comScore.

What is “EdgeRank”?

Today there are two different settings on the users’ Facebook page- “Most Recent,” which shows most of the content published by Facebook friends in chronological order and “Top News” which filters content based on Facebook’s news feed optimization called EdgeRank.

According to Facebook, 95% of users use the “Top News” exclusively.  Therefore, it is extremely important for companies to understand how EdgeRank works.

Facebook views everything published as “objects.” Every object receives a ranking, which determines if it will show in the users’ personal news feed. How high the content score on EdgeRank is depends on three things: the Affinity, the Weight and the Timing.

The algorithm looks like this:

edge rank algorithm

Each Edge has three components important to Facebook’s algorithm:

  • First, there’s an affinity score between the viewing user and the brand—if your fans or community members interact very frequently, comment regularly, tag photos of your brand then the affinity score of your brand will be higher, than any other brands they like and it will show up more frequently in their news feeds.
  • Second, there’s a weight given to each type of Edge (or activity on the Facebook page). Activities that require higher levels of user engagement get a higher weight score than those that do not. For example, uploading a link or photo together with a comment takes more effort on the users’ part than clicking the “Like” button.
  • And finally there’s the most obvious factor — time. The older an Edge is, the less important it becomes. You start out with a high timing score and the more time passes, the lower the score gets.

Multiply these factors for each Edge then add the Edge scores up and you have an Object’s EdgeRank. And the higher that is, the more likely your Object is to appear in the user’s feed.

The way to get noticed

If companies post content every day can reach as much of 22% of their fan base each week, according to comScore. In order to reach this, companies should aim to:

  • Post content often (3 -5 times a week).
  • Post several pictures, videos and links as they will get a higher EdgeRank than plain text.
  • Encourage interaction, for example by asking questions and trying to get fans to upload their own content so the interaction is mutual.
  • Share content that is highly social – content that users want to re-share with their friends.
  • And finally, obtain a high level of “Likes”, comments and re-shares.

Getting your content noticed is not difficult, but it requires some planning and work. Following these simple advices will help you increase the visibility of your company’s posts and maximize the exposure to both fans and their friends. So how about calculating the EdgeRank of your content now?

Instagram’s New Algorithm – What You Need to Know

IMG_8423Nearly 6 years after its initial release and 400 million users later, Instagram is fast-approaching the ad-supported dominance of Facebook. Last week, it introduced its very own algorithm, following in the footsteps of Twitter and its parent company Facebook. Whether this is an enhancement is debatable and many seem to be divided on the matter as it stands. It begins with co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom explaining that “on average, people miss about 70% of the posts in their Instagram feed”, which may be alarming to some.

 

Twitter jumped onto the algorithm bandwagon only last month and has received its own amount of backlash from it. The fear that it will destroy live-tweeting and the key reason people love twitter is amongst the concerns. Of course, users tend to prefer what they’re used to on social networks and aren’t very welcoming to change, so this may pass.

Facebook’s introduction of its algorithm, which was due to extraordinary growth, was a much-needed overhaul of the News Feed. The fact that Facebook is bigger than the largest country on earth makes it almost essential for it to filter out unwanted posts and let its users receive the most relevant content. The question now is, does Instagram need it too?

Facebook Instant Articles was also released last year, which is a great way for Facebook to avoid the standard embedded browser mechanics that so many apps rely on. This allows users to view news more fluently by delivering a more native user experience. It also coincided with the release of the Apple News app, which has recently opened its doors to all publishers. The fact that developers are now realising the public’s thirst for news makes things extremely well-timed for the ever-growing amount of algorithms social is seeing. We need news, whether it be world news or friend news, and we need it fast – even if we missed it being posted.

 

What This Means for Brands

From a brand perspective, it is unquestionably going to become more complicated to market on Instagram. There are many visual-based brands that invest a great deal of money into Instagram to be able to reach a specific audience or age group. One example is brands paying influencers to promote their product, which has ultimately made it possible for those influencers to make a living by monetising their audience on the platform. This is achieved with a combination of brand sponsorships from companies, product promotion and follower reach. So how will it affect their livelihood? Companies will be much more demanding when it comes to requesting the influencer’s actual reach once it’s available, which will very likely decrease the amount that influencers are paid. This, in translation, means that influencers could ultimately be forced to take a pay cut with the introduction of this algorithm.

In layman’s terms, brands will be required to pay for their posts to reach their fans. This is especially true if the posts have little engagement, which exactly replicates Facebook’s model as Instagram takes its big brother’s handy advice. A key question here is, will the quality of posts increase due to content ‘needing’ engagement to push through?

Additionally, until now, brands have been supplied with little to no data on their Instagram channels. With this algorithm and a clear business objective from Facebook to increase ad turnover on Instagram, the company knows that advertisers expect something in return. The exchange is a classic eyeballs and actions for paid budgets and to prove delivery of reach and actions, Facebook will need to provide data and show that brands are getting their money’s worth.

 

Implications & Considerations

As general guidance, it may be efficient to stop thinking about news feeds as stories. A profile is a story and will probably always remain that way, but a news feed is a different beast altogether. With the algorithm, your followers might see some of your posts in their feed but far from all, making feed storytelling pretty much impossible. The challenge is to create a valuable brand presence on social that is recognizable without the context of other content.

Another discussion point is how Instagram profiles compare to Facebook profiles for brands. Facebook Pages made it easier to separate personal and brand pages, but Instagram has yet to do such a thing. Will we see something similar in the future? If so, it is sure to bring a great deal more features from Facebook to Instagram, which is undeniably the path we’re on with the two companies. Another thing to start considering is whether Instagram will eventually suppress almost all organic ads, like Facebook does. After all, having an algorithm like this can undeniably camouflage the real reason followers are missing so many posts.

Overall, Instagram is rapidly growing to greater capacities, users are posting more and we ultimately live in an algorithmic world as far as social is concerned. And as Instagram ads are managed through Facebook, they are extremely easy to target to a specific audience, which appealingly makes use of Facebook’s limitless data. These will undoubtedly merge together to form one giant supply of data and algorithms will most likely do the same. So it could be Facebook’s existing model that Instagram slowly turns into. Simply put, like father, like son.