Yes, you read that title correctly.
I’m a Facebook marketer who actually is going to defend Facebook EdgeRank and explain how and why it’s actually good for Facebook Pages.
I know it’s not going to be easy to convince you EdgeRank is good– or dare I say great– for Facebook Pages. But before you come after me with pitchforks and flames like you did to Zuckerberg, please give me a chance to change your mind.
Wait! Don’t X out of this yet! My friend made this hilarious picture
of for you..
All jokes aside, let’s get down to the details. First of all, if you’re still unfamiliar with what EdgeRank is, check out this infographic or this blog post. For those well-versed in the topic, I’ll begin my case for EdgeRank.
1. Twitter Proves That An Unfiltered, Context-less Feed is Less Engaging
When most people complain about EdgeRank, they immediately point to Twitter and say, “Look! Twitter lets me reach all my fans!”. This isn’t really the case. Twitter’s unfiltered feed means that most tweets go unnoticed. Even worse, the feed gives no context as to how many times a tweet has been favorited/retweeted/replied to unless a user clicks on the tweet to expand it. The problem here is that you can’t expect a user to do this to every tweet– so the most popular tweets on your feed appear to be the same as the least popular tweets.
But how does this affect engagement? Here are a couple examples:
First, let’s take a look at the data from the last 50 posts/tweets from a brand active on both Twitter and Facebook*.
This brand has over 170,000 followers on Twitter and 80,000 fans on Facebook. Despite this ratio of more than 2 followers to 1 fan, the total number of engagements on Facebook (likes, comments, and shares) was more than 14 times the number of engagements on Twitter (favorites, @replies, and retweets). Keep in mind that this wide margin exists even though Facebook only shows posts to 16% of fans on average– while Twitter is completely unfiltered. It’s clear that the unfiltered feed overwhelms this brand’s fans with too many tweets. I think it’s fair to assume that on Twitter, far less than 16% of your followers ever see your tweets.
Second, let’s consider the social sharing and referral traffic to this blog (the PostRocket Blog). Over the course of the last six months, there have been about the same number of tweets as there have been likes and shares (a large sample size, with both in the thousands). Despite this, referral traffic from Facebook has exceed the referral traffic from Twitter by over 700%. This shows that it’s not just engagement rates that are higher on Facebook– but click-through rates too.
2. EdgeRank Personalizes Frequency Based on Action
Back in November, Facebook’s News feed Product Manager Will Cathcart told Josh Constine at TechCrunch in detail what decides whether or not a post shows up in a user’s feed. Two of the things he mentioned are associated with this point (2.) and the other two things will be touched on in my next point (3.).
Before I get to Cathcart’s words, let me explain further what I mean by ‘personalizing frequency based on action’. What this means is that Facebook decides how frequently you (as a user) see posts from a particular page (or person) based on what you do– all in an effort to serve you the content on your feed that you’re most likely to engage with. The reality is that your page is just not that important to most of your fans– so they don’t want to see all your posts– and that’s OK. Overall, this personalization is a very, very, good thing– and this is why Facebook users come back each and every day for hours. On to Cathcart’s words- Facebook shows/doesn’t show posts in the feed based on:
- If you interacted with an author’s posts before: If you Like every post by a Page that Facebook shows you, it will show you more from that Page. (If you don’t, it will show you less.)
- Your interaction with posts of the same type in the past: If you always Like photos, there’s a better chance you’ll see a photo posted by a Page [than a status update]. (If you never click on links, you’re less likely to see a link posted by a Page.).
The lesson here is that Facebook uses EdgeRank to put your Page’s posts in a place where they are most likely to succeed in garnering engagement. Zuck isn’t so bad after all, is he?
3. EdgeRank Rewards Pages with Consistently Engaging Content & Punishes Pages with Bad Content
This point is simple to understand– but it’s important to really understand it. It’s also important to understand that the following two points (just like the previous two) are coming straight from the mouth of Will Cathcart, the Product Manager of Facebook’s News feed:
- Other people’s reactions to a specific post: If everyone else on Facebook shown a post engages with it, it’s more likely to show you that post. (If everyone else on Facebook shown a post ignores it or complains, it’s less likely to show you that post.)
- If that specific post has received complaints by other users who have seen it, or the Page who posted it has received lots complaints in the past, you’ll be less likely to see that post. This factor became a lot more prevalent starting in September 2012.
The key takeaway here is that there is justice with EdgeRank. In the short-term, Facebook rewards you when your posts are great with more visibility– and saves you from humiliating yourself by not showing your bad posts. In the long-term, those who work hard to provide quality content for their fans to appreciate are rewarded– and those who post cat memes all the time to bolster their talking about this number are punished. As a page owner, you must focus on quality before quantity when it comes to posting. Now, it’s more important than ever to monitor your negative feedback numbers. Most people who suffered a drop in reach back in September will see in their Insights the reason is likely negative feedback.
Ultimately, what marketers need to realize is that they come to Facebook because of its massive user-base– and Facebook’s massive user-base comes to Facebook because EdgeRank serves up quality content personalized to them. If marketers want to continue to have the opportunity to reach the masses through Facebook, they need to understand and appreciate (rather than fight) EdgeRank.
Also- for the rioters who still disagree with me and want to see everything in their News feed, you are the minority (<0.1%) on Facebook. For you, Facebook created the ‘Get Notifications’ feature for pages and ‘Close Friends’ feature for users.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, thanks a ton for reading. Would love to hear your comments and would love it even more for you to try out PostRocket!