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Understanding Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm, Formerly Edge Rank

Understanding Facebook's New Feed Algorithm

This was a topic discussed on Talk Social With Wahine Media, a weekly radio segment on The Matt DiGeronimo Show. Listen to the podcast replay here


If you’re struggling with keeping up with Facebook’s constant updates and changes, you are not alone. Most of them the personal user doesn’t notice, but if you are a managing a business presence, it’s important to keep up with these changes, and adjust your techniques accordingly.

Did you know that over 90% of your fans on Facebook will ever return to your wall? Users spend the majority of their time on the News Feed—interacting with friends, family, and the business pages that they have become a fan of. That means that most of your fans only interact with your business or brand through the content that you post.

Facebook uses algorithms that gives priority to content that they think a user will be most interested in. It places the most “relevant” content higher up a user’s News Feed, based upon their previous behavior.

The News Feed is the most important feature to understand on Facebook, and not surprisingly, changes have been made to this algorithm. Formerly known as Edge Rank, the recent changes have not made Edge Rank irrelevant. Rather, it has added complex “layers” to certain variables of Edge Rank, and added a few more. I’ll bring you through a few of the most important variables you should understand.

Affinity measures the relationship between the fan and a page. The more a fan has interacted with a page, the more likely the page’s content will show on that fan’s News Feed. The new algorithm takes into account interactions of fan’s friends, and relationship settings. Relationship settings are customized settings a user can toggle to deliberately show or hide a page’s content, or put in an interest list.

Weight measures what kinds of posts get a bigger response. Photos have been proven to be the best vehicle to use on Facebook. But, your new Facebook Insights (yes, these have been updated recently as well), will tell you what types of posts perform better. Pay attention to these metrics, because I would not be surprised if video is now starting to out perform photos for many of you.

Time measures how much time has passed since the post was made—the longer the time, the more a post “decays”, and falls off the News Feed. But, the new algorithms have introduced what is called Story Bumping, giving popular posts that have fallen victim to time decay a second chance by “bumping” them back to the top of the News Feed.

Facebook Story Bumping

The new algorithms are now taking into account if people have hidden or reported your posts. Conveniently, your Insights will tell you if posts have been hidden. They will also take into consideration what Ads fans have interacted with in the past, and they take into consideration device and technical restraints.

Despite all of these changes don’t get overwhelmed, as there is one big takeaway. In fact, the one big takeaway regardless of how the nuances of Facebook will change is this. Post the most remarkable, most engaging, most compelling, most authentic content as possible, every time. Think of every post as the one opportunity you have to bring people into your conversation. While I’m the biggest proponent of details—they are important—I can assure you they will fall into place if you always keep the bigger picture in mind.

 

Looking for more information about News Feed Algorithm changes?

Read a great article on Marketing Land 
EdgeRank Is Dead: Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Now Has Close To 100K Weight Factors.

Read Facebook’s announcement of the News Feed changes
News Feed FYI: A Window Into News Feed
News Feed FYI: Showing More High Quality Content

 

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About Gwen Woltz

Gwen Woltz is co-founder of Wahine Media, a local social media agency specializing in strategically building thriving and engaged online communities for businesses. Gwen is past President of Social Media Club Hawaii, was a finalist for Pacific Edge Magazine's Young Professional of the Year, and is an instructor of social media at Pacific New Media Outreach College at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
  • Great recap Gwen! This is a significant change, no longer need to focus on frequency as much as quality.. as it should be.

    • Gwen Woltz

      Thanks @robertholf:disqus! It is significant, and the algorithms are much more elaborate than before. We always knew quality is what performs best, but I think frequency still may be important too—well, depending on what your definition of frequency is… Once a week on Facebook will never cut it 😉