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Problems With Facebook? Blame EdgeRank

Facebook users are complaining that too few followers are seeing their posts. This article explains why.

You hear the complaints.  You have them yourself. You post a great morsel of information on Facebook, and virtually no one sees it. Actually, about sixteen percent of your friends see it. So what’s going on? The culprit, if you will, is Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.

EdgeRank was developed by Facebook engineers to weed out stories on its newsfeeds it deems boring, unexciting, or simply not worthwhile. What happens is this. Any status update, commenting on a friends update, tagging a photo, or joining a fan page generates an Edge. An Edge has the possibility to show up in a friend’s newsfeed. With 900 million users, it would be overwhelming to post every update or Edge, so Facebook created an algorithm to try to predict what updates would be most interesting to other users.  

So how does EdgeRank work? EdgeRank considers three variables:

  1. Affinity – Measures how “connected” you are to a viewing user. The more connected you are, the more likely that user will see your post. Some of the factors that are used to measure affinity include relationship or family connection, number of mutual friends, and how often you write on their wall.
  2. Edge Weight – A weighting is given to every Edge. Each action has a different weight. For instance comments carry more weight than likes. Facebook changes weights from time to time but generally photos and video’s carry more weight than links. It’s not known if these values change per user. For instance,  I post a lot of links. Does that give me a higher EdgeRank for links? Who knows?
  3. Time decay – This one is obvious. Edges fade away over time because they’re “old news”. Further, EdgeRank is not a static number, it changes over time. When you log into Facebook, you see the posts that have the highest EdgeRank at that moment. That is why your newsfeed may not be exact from one moment to the next. User interaction can elevate the EdgeRank of a post that may not have been visible a short time before.

So you ask “How can I find out my EdgeRank score”? You can’t, and don’t believe any company that says they’ve figured out how to do it. There are too many variables, some of them secret, to get a clear answer to that question. For instance, if you leave a comment on a friend’s page, how can a third party know how connected you are. EdgeRank seems to fluctuate with how often a user logs onto Facebook. There is no way for a third party to track that.

 If you have a Fan Page for your business, don’t worry about EdgeRank for your page. It doesn’t matter. The EdgeRank of the individual Edges is what matters. In a previous post we mentioned some steps you can take to increase your fan base. The rules apply for building your EdgeRank as well:

  • Engage the viewer. Include terms such as “Click if you like”. Ask fill in the blank questions. “On a scale of 1 to 10” type questions usually get a good response.
  • Be consistent. Post an actionable Edge everyday.
  • Keep it short. Sixty to 200 characters seem to get the most likes.
  • Post at different times of the day to see what time works best for your fans.

Everyone seems to have problems with Facebook, but 900 million users are hard to ignore. Following a productive course of action will eventually increase interaction with your page and bring more fans and business your way.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mark Ahrens January 03, 2013 at 09:30 PM
The phenomena of FB weeding out a user's posts is very frustrating, but you can see why it is necessary for FB given its 900 million users. Good reco's at the end to maximize a post's EdgeRank. Thanks.
Concerned Parent January 08, 2013 at 12:16 AM
You mean everyone cannot see my inane and self-absorbed postings on FB?....Rabble..Rabble..Rabble...Rabble.

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