Almost a billion people are using Facebook, but most are unaware of the “secret sauce” that determines what they see. Many are blissfully unaware that not all the content they post is seen by even their closest friends, and that the longer they go without anyone interacting with their content, the less anyone sees their posts. Bottom line – if no one likes your stuff, eventually almost no one will see it.
The algorithm Facebook uses is called EdgeRank, and it impacts individuals, businesses, and nonprofits alike. This invisible score affects everything that is posted, mentioned, shared, or liked on the social media platform. Businesses that understand the concepts behind EdgeRank strive to cultivate a higher score to increase the reach and influence of their messages. However, anyone can benefit from understanding EdgeRank and use it to enhance their online popularity and deepen their networks.
How is EdgeRank Score Calculated?
Facebook has opted not to release the exact details of the formula used to calculate EdgeRank. This is most likely so they can make adjustments to it without scrutiny and keep a little bit of mystery in the game. To be clear, every post and even every action that occurs on Facebook has a dynamic EdgeRank score that determines its visibility. While the exact weights of the variables are uncertain, in simplified terms the variables are time, engagement, and relationship.
Time: This refers to how recently a piece of content was posted.
Engagement: This refers to the comments, likes, and shares a piece of content receives.
Relationship: This refers to the historical engagement between users along with the nature of their connection (ie. familial, fan page, group connections etc.).
- The more recently content was posted, the higher its EdgeRank
- The more engagement it received, the higher the EdgeRank
- And the deeper the relationship between involved users, the higher the EdgeRank
We also know that comments are weighted higher than likes because they are a more substantial form of engagement. Additionally, past engagement between users impacts the relationship variable. EdgeRank actually goes much deeper than this and is a bit more complex, but this should be more than enough information to give you the idea.
The most direct way that EdgeRank effects a person or page is that it determines reach. Social reach refers to how large of an audience saw a piece of content. Just because you have 2000 Facebook friends or fans, does not mean they all see everything you post. If your post has a high EdgeRank score then a higher percentage of those friends or fans will see it in their feed. But if your EdgeRank is low, then very few people will ever see it.
Influence is your ability to get people to take an action. In terms of social media, that usually equates to clicking, liking, commenting, and sharing. EdgeRank score creates a social snowball effect with regards to influence. Content may either increase in reach exponentially or melt. If people begin to like, comment on, and share a post then the EdgeRank of that post will increase rapidly. So a post that begins to influence individuals will receive a higher score which enables it to have even greater influence. The fastest way to increase your social influence is to post content that is likely to draw higher levels of engagement.
What is the hallmark of popularity? Everyone either is, or wants to be talking with the popular individual. The more dialog you engage in on Facebook, the more you are able to build up the relationship component of the EdgeRank equation. This means two things. One, your EdgeRank increases by being popular. Two, the higher your EdgeRank becomes, the more popular you appear. When someone comments on your posts, your score dramatically increases with regards to that individual. So if you post something that 2000 people comment on, those 2000 people are much more likely to see what you post in the near future.
Whether you want to build your business, rally support to your cause, or just get more people to notice you, EdgeRank is the vehicle that every interaction on Facebook happens through. Start learning how to drive and download our Free Guide To Social Media 101 today!