Facebook’s Edgerank Out – Actors and Story Bumpers Wanted
I think I am happy. I am not really sure just yet, but I am going with the “anything has got to be better than what we have now” philosophy.
On Tuesday, Facebook held a conference to announce that the Edgerank algorithm, over time, is going “bye-bye”. They also gave us a glimpse of what will replace it. I want to explain why this is so important to you, followed by a rant (I promise to keep it short) and then my thoughts on how you can capitalize on the changes.
As background, did you know that only about 6% of the people who “Like” your Facebook fan page ever return directly to your page to like, comment, share or otherwise engage with you on Facebook? Shocking I know. Where do they interact with you then, if not on your fan page proper? In their newsfeed! In fact, almost 700 million Facebook users use their News Feed daily. In 2011, 27% of all time spent on Facebook was spent in the News Feed. That number rose to 40% in 2012 and is approaching 50% this year.
But guess what? Facebook controls what and where stories show up in your fans News Feed with a complicated algorithm they call Edgerank. The algorithm takes into account 3 different factors: affinity, weight and decay. This “system” can supposedly predict what I want to see. The problem is that an algorithm cannot really mimic human behavior. I change my mind A LOT – ask my husband. Some days I want to see updates on the latest happenings in the social media world and some days I just want pictures of cute puppies. So, I have never been a big fan of Edgerank.
Now my (short) rant. On average, statistically only 16% of the updates I, you or anybody else post on our Facebook fan pages actually make it into our fan’s news feeds. Let me say that again, 16%! We work so hard to build a fan base and then Facebook decides what and who will see what we share. For money I can pay Facebook to show the updates to more of MY community. Hmmm…doesn't seem quite fair, right?
Ready for this?
I have a little over 40,000 Facebook Fans (I love each and every one of you by the way!) and a “potential audience” of people who “Like” the fan pages of my fans of 9.4 million people. Let’s say for a minute that I had a critical update I wanted to get out to the whole “potential audience”. You know how much that would cost me in Facebook advertising to share this update with my fan base and their friend base? $47,000!
So, does anybody see the obvious and built in “conflict of interest” Facebook has? They invent an algorithm to restrict which of MY fans can see my updates and then charge me money for the privilege of reaching them. Rant over…
So, Facebook is making a series of complicated changes to the algorithm, and since advertising makes up more than 85% of their revenue, they want to get us on board. They plan a series of blog posts on the changes in the coming weeks that you can read directly in the Facebook News Room (http://newsroom.fb.com/). While there are certainly more changes to come, they did cover two prominent ones as follows:
- Story Bumping: On average, there are 1,500 potential stories for you to see every time you visit your News Feed. Edgerank prioritizes the top 20% for you to see based on the formula discussed above. That is still 300 stories. Well, most people do not have the time to work their way through 300 stories every day and therefore miss some cool stuff that they probably would want to have seen. In the past, the next time you viewed your News Feed those stories were gone. Now, those same stories that disappeared can reappear at the top of the feed if others are liking, commenting and sharing them a lot. In essence, your community is saying “Hey we all enjoyed this story so we wanted to make sure you saw it too”. THIS, is an excellent idea! It's kind of like word of mouth recommendations. I can live with this.
- Last Actor: The new algorithm will take into account the last 50 interactions and use that information to help make decisions on which posts to include in the News Feed. That means that if somebody interacts with one of your posts early in the day, they are much more likely to get your posts in their News Feeds later in the day. That is also a very good idea.
- Chronological by Order: This feature is not LIVE yet and is still in testing. The goal of this feature is to make Facebook more like Twitter in the sense of showing live events in order from most recent to oldest.
So what does all of this mean to you? Good content that drives engagement, published consistently will fare much better and be seen by more of your community in their News Feeds for FREE! So publish more great, engaging content.
Oh yeah, Facebook also made sure they noted during the conference that there will be no changes to the way paid advertising appeared in your News Feed. They are keeping their goose who lays the golden eggs, just feeding it a little less.
So, is anybody excited about the changes, or are you taking a “wait and see” approach? I would love to hear your opinion below.