5 Facts You Didn't Know About Facebook EdgeRank

by Chad Wittman on Jan 25, 2012

Facebook EdgeRank is the sum of each Edge’s Affinity x Weight x Time Decay.

An Edge can range from Creating a Post to Sharing a Post. As an object within Facebook receives interactions it becomes more likely to show up in the news feed.

This relatively straight forward algorithm can lead to complicated results.

Understanding EdgeRank and leveraging it to your advantage is vital for brands to see success on Facebook.

Here are 5 things about EdgeRank you did not know:

1. The typical post reaches only about 17% of your fans

Many executives take a quick look at their fan count and cite that as their reason for success or failure. In reality, creating engagement (shares, comments, and likes) is much more important as it will create greater exposure and higher click through rates.

However, a typical post created by a page only reaches about 17% of their fans. Multiple Posts a day can help increase this number for the total each day.

Pages that leverage EdgeRank to their advantage can actually reach many more of their fans. By extremely leveraging EdgeRank, pages can actually reach past their fan base and into their fans’ friends feeds. This is the power of understanding and leveraging EdgeRank.

2. A Facebook post typically lives for about 3 hours

For most Facebook admins, each strategically placed post will only live for about 3 hours. Each individual Facebook page has a different average post lifetime, but understanding this can help to achieve a deeper understanding of time decay.

Waiting for your last post to die is important so that engagement is not cannibalized. Understanding your Daily Optimal Post Frequency can be used with understanding how long your posts’ live. If your average post lifetime was 9 hours, and your Optimal Post Frequency was 2x/day it’d be best to post early morning and sometime in the evening. Sticking to this strategy will most likely increase your engagement, which ultimately builds your EdgeRank.

3. Comments are about 4x more valuable than Likes

Facebook marketers have always believed that comments were more valuable than likes, but now recent studies are shedding light onto how much more valuable. This means that an emphasis on comments will most likely result in better overall performance than focusing on likes.

Marketers can use this to their advantage by asking fans to “Comment if they disagree” or “Suggest an alternative in a Comment”. Using tactics such as these can help provide a Call To Action for your fans, which also boosts the EdgeRank of these updates. Likes are still important. It is always better to have some likes than no likes at all.

4. Facebook tracks everything to determine affinity

To determine affinity, Facebook must analyze anything and everything between a user and a page. Every click, every Facebook share, comment, like, and wall post builds affinity between the user and the page. This means getting users to consume your content and interact with your page is vital. Facebook is monitoring these interactions and increasing the affinity. An increase in affinity is going to help you leverage EdgeRank to your advantage.

Facebook even monitors listed relationships between users. For example, “Cousins” on Facebook would most likely have a higher starting affinity due to their family listing. All these interactions and more are being monitored. We assume that anything that can be monitored, is being monitored, and if it’s being monitored, it’s being used.

5. GraphRank is a subset of EdgeRank

Much is being made about the new release of apps into Facebook. These new Facebook Actions are governed by an algorithm called GraphRank. Brands that are able to build custom tailored apps will be battle for newsfeed exposure via GraphRank. However, GraphRank works very similar to EdgeRank and is actually a subset of it.

Facebook Page Admins don’t have to worry about learning to optimize for a new algorithm on the newsfeed. GraphRank only applies to Facebook app developers. Any custom Facebook developers out there need to understand how GraphRank impacts the tools they are building.

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EdgeRank can be a complicated topic with many hidden elements we are still figuring out. However, when you really boil it down, it is all about creating engagement, response. If a Facebook marketer can build engagement through the content they provide, you will build EdgeRank.

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Post Author

Founder of EdgeRank Checker, an in-depth Facebook Analytics company. Interested in the future of the internet & Facebook's place in it....

  • http://flavors.me/thiagoalmeida Thiago Souza de Almeida

    I wonder if the pages I like as a page could also work to increase affinity with followers and maybe even increase the number of times my page is suggested to Facebook user? My brand would for example, like Lady Gaga, Rihanna and similar musicians pages if I think that my target audience also like these pages … 

  • http://flavors.me/thiagoalmeida Thiago Souza de Almeida

    I wonder if the pages I like as a page could also work to increase affinity with followers and maybe even increase the number of times my page is suggested to Facebook user? My brand would for example, like Lady Gaga, Rihanna and similar musicians pages if I think that my target audience also like these pages … 

  • Anonymous

    great info to help boost facebook presents. number 2 and 3 spoke to me a lot.
    some times we forget those things.

  • Anonymous

    great info to help boost facebook presents. number 2 and 3 spoke to me a lot.
    some times we forget those things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietmar.muchitsch Dietmar Muchitsch

    Loved to read that, thx. What is about posting via Scheduler like Hootsuite? Is it true, that Facebook won’t show them to often? Greetings from Austria! ;)

  • http://twitter.com/ChadWittman Chad Wittman

    We monitored 3rd Party API posting awhile back and found it was detrimental to EdgeRank (http://edgerankchecker.com/blog/2011/09/does-using-a-third-party-api-decrease-your-engagement-per-post/). Recently, we reevaluated it and it appears things are much more even (http://edgerankchecker.com/blog/2011/12/did-facebook-really-fix-the-3rd-party-api-penalty/). I still don’t like the concept of using an automated process to manage your social presence.

  • http://teamworkscom.com Paul Pruneau

    Great insights. Thanks for the concise summary on understanding more about what’s going on behind the Facebook experience.

  • http://www.juanmarketing.com/ juanmarketing

    Great point -  “The typical post reaches only about 17% of your fans” It is crazy how many people still think that when you post something you reach the total of the fan base and the worst, they think the same if as user you post something on a FB page. Thanks for sharing…

    JuanMarketing – Creating social media strategy with Passion

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=610357529 Ross Rodzleen

    Thanks for sharing. This is really useful information!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1501621066 Danielle Caird

    “a typical post created by a page only reaches about 17% of their fans. Multiple Posts a day can help increase this number for the total each day.”

    I have noticed that Pages with a limited number of fans that have multiple posts going out each day have hardly any interaction with their posts. When you look at their Wall, you see post after post with no engagement. Isn’t the psychology behind this the more times a fan sees a post from the same place appear on their wall, the less likely they are to click on one of them? Doesn’t Facebook count that against you too? Increased number of posts with decreased amount of interaction? A big problem I notice is Brands making those increased number of posts per day all within an hour or 2 of each other. At least spread them out over the day.

    I would much rather make one post to 17% of my fans and get a response than 3 a day and get none.

    Like you said, getting consumers to interact is vital. WHAT you post makes all the difference in the world. If you are known for posting sharable, likable and comment-able material..you can post all day long because people are looking forward to interacting with your material and I feel, Facebook will reward your popularity with an increase in reach and none of what I wrote above applies. ;b Thank you for sharing Chad.

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  • http://twitter.com/ChadWittman Chad Wittman

    I agree with your strategy to build engagement rather than focus on extending reach. When I mentioned that multiple posts can extend the reach, I was implying that you are not over extending your efforts. If optimal post frequency is 2x, then hypothetically you could reach 34% of your fans by posting twice.

  • http://twitter.com/ChadWittman Chad Wittman

    It should be noted, some Pages Reach many many more people!

  • http://twitter.com/ChadWittman Chad Wittman

    No problem, we’re always studying this stuff at http://edgerankchecker.com/blog

  • http://www.juanmarketing.com/ juanmarketing

    Hi Chad,

    Can you list some of those?

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  • http://twitter.com/kolagrey Kola Grey

    Very informative post. Nice one Chad. cheers!

  • http://twitter.com/kolagrey Kola Grey

    Very informative post. Nice one Chad. cheers!

  • http://noahsdad.com/ Rick Smith

    Question, do you think a page should ‘like’ and respond to every comment left by fans of a page? Does every like and response to a comment help to increase your chances of being seen in that persons newsfeed (and others) in the future?

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  • http://ariherzog.com/ Ari Herzog

     Rick, you’re a person. If you go out of your way to like a company page, and you ask that company a question in a comment about something they wrote, wouldn’t you want a response?

  • http://ariherzog.com/ Ari Herzog

     That’s easy. Think Fortune 100 firms with high number of fans and frequent conversations. Starbucks, for starters.

  • http://noahsdad.com/ Rick Smith

    Sure. But if I ask a question on my page (almost 13,000 fans) like “what’s your child’s favorite bed-time story” and I get 85 book titles, is it good form to just go through and like everyone of them, and also say “Wow, great book!” “Awesome book” “That’s another good one” , etc…? I’m just curious if this is best practice, I never see large companies doing this.

  • http://ariherzog.com/ Ari Herzog

    Is it necessary for Goliath to do something before David does it?

  • http://socialfreshacademy.com/ Jason Keath

    Don’t feel compelled to reply to EVERYTHING. But a few targeted responses can keep conversation (and edgerank) going. Treat it like a normal conversation. You might ask two people in a group of 20 a question, but you would not ask all 20 a question at the same time. Take the most compelling comments and try to generate a couple more comments or a longer discussion around them. 

  • http://www.umilu.com Umilu

    great webinar today chad

  • dean guadagni

    Chad,
    Thanks for writing this post!  Facebook is constantly misunderstood by many of my clients and prospects. Most don’t see beyond increase the numbers.

  • http://www.profiletree.com/ ProfileTree

    Facebook is really an effective social media platform to use when advertising. But other people tend to abuse it like spamming, that’s why they never get the edgerank they’ve been wanting. :)

  • http://www.geekandblogger.com/ Pavan Somu

    wonderful points. i agree that comments play a vital role than likes/shares.

  • Debbie

    I recently got my ‘talking about this’ up to 700% by using these theories.
    Question: I have never seen another Page up this high, my page hovers around 80% ‘talking about’ and once in a while goes up to 200-300% (and once to 700%).
    I have been looking and have not seen another Page that gets 80-700% engagement (talking about) rates, is this that unusual? Debbie
    https://www.facebook.com/WeePiggiesAndPawsHeadOffice?ref=hl