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Facebook Changes EdgeRank: Reach Decreases, Engagement Increases

Do you ever wonder what, why and how certain content appears in your Facebook News Feed? If you haven’t heard of EdgeRank or do not understand what it is, listen up. Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank determines what you see in your News Feed based on three metrics:

1) Affinity: the relationship between a page and its fans. Usually influenced by repeat actions such as comments, likes and clicks.

2) Weight: photos, videos and links are the three types of content that receive the most attention.

3) Time Decay: how recently an action was taken.

It began as rumors and speculation, but it is now certain that Facebook made adjustments to EdgeRank around September 20, 2012.

What does this mean for Facebook pages and their content? There has been an overall drop in reach across all pages, regardless of fan count. People have never seen all posts and it used to be around 16% of posts were shown. However, a study by Socialbakers and We Are Social examined 41,051 posts from 274 pages from August through November 2nd. and found that pages have seen about a 40% drop in reach, BUT engagement has remained steady.

Facebook claims that people are now seeing content that they will most likely engage with; therefore, this has created an increase in engagement, despite a decrease in reach. In other words, the posts that are being seen are getting engagement.

One of the main questions being asked is if Facebook has decreased organic reach in order to increase paid promotions. Facebook denies these statements, but what are brands supposed to think and supposed to do? Is this simply an adjustment to account for the growing number of pages people like? With this decrease in reach, page owners need to focus on content that resonates with their audience.

First, focus on organic reach. Try to keep reaching your audience and improving engagement organically without paying by using these tips:

1) Engaging content strategy: focus on creating content that has been successful with your fans in the past. Focus on content that receives a lot of engagement whether it is photos, deals, questions, tips, etc. Know what speaks to your demographic.

2) Focus on analytics: analyze your content to see which posts are receiving the most engagement and reach. Focus on posting this content.

3) Do not over post: one of the main reasons people unlike a page, is because brands over post and flood fan’s News Feed. It is recommended to post no more than 2 times a day.

4) Get notifications: encourage your fans to select “Get Notifications” in order to be notified when your page posts content and makes updates.

Unfortunately, as some might argue is Facebook’s objective, it might be worth considering paying for promoted posts in order to increase reach.

With Facebook going public in May, they can no longer afford to just be a social network. They now have to focus on maximizing shareholder equity. Do you think Facebook changed EdgeRank to make brands pay for their content to be seen? What tips can you offer to help your content be seen organically?

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