What is EdgeRank?

EdgeRank is the name commonly given to the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what articles should be displayed in a user’s News Feed.

As of 2011, Facebook has stopped using the “EdgeRank” term internally to refer to its News Feed ranking algorithm, and in 2013, uses an algorithm that takes more than 100,000 factors into account in addition to EdgeRank’s three.

In 2010, the EdgeRank algorithm was described as:

Facebook Edgerank Algorithm
Edgerank = Affinity x Weight x Time Decay

Some of the methods that Facebook uses to adjust the parameters are proprietary and not available to the public.

Facebook Changes Stripes Once Again, Organic Brand Posts Now Endangered

Facebook late Friday announced yet another push to reduce the number of organic brand posts it says are cluttering its users’ newsfeeds. In an update to its “volume and content controls for promotional posts” taking effect in January 2015, Facebook said it will further limit the number of promotions posted organically by brands to the users who liked them.

Facebook did not disclose the magnitude of the new controls, but said they would affect organic posts that “feel too promotional,” and cited three specific criteria:

1 – Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app.

2 – Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.

3 – Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.

The move likely will come as a blow to brands that have invested heavily in promoting their Facebook presence to consumers in an effort to get them to like them and to follow their brand content newsfeeds. Already industry executives had been monitoring the percentage of organic brand posts passing through Facebook’s so-called EdgeRank algorithm, a mathematical formula that helps Facebook determine how many and what kind of posts to come through users’ newsfeeds.

Facebook utilizes the algorithm to ensure that users are not overwhelmed with extraneous clutter from irrelevant or marginal posts, but executives who have been monitoring the performance of the algorithm have said in recent months it had fallen to low single-digit percentage reach for brands posting to Facebook users following or liking them.

Those moves, as well as the new update are likely to be a boon for Facebook — forcing many brands to shift from organic to paid strategies — because the only way for them to effectively reach consumers on Facebook will be through advertising. But even that is heavily gated by Facebook.

Facebook said the update is being made in response to research it conducted among its users, which it described as “part of an ongoing survey” involving “hundreds of thousands of people.”

Facebook did not disclose explicit guidelines for what constitutes overly promotional posts, but showed two examples (the Tiger Therapy one above and the Bunny Puzzle Cube one below) and warned that “pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

As part of the announcement, Facebook also reminded brand marketers they can always utilize a paid option for reaching Facebook fans.
“For targeting specific audiences with predictable reach, Facebook advertising offers ways to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or app downloads,” it said.

A smattering of comments posted by business users on the Facebook For Business news post were generally positive, but at least one raised an important question not just for business posters, but for business newsfeed readers.
“I follow a lot of local business pages for article shares and news,” commented Michael Parnell, manager at North Highland, adding: “Does this mean their articles won’t reach my news feed and I’ll now be forced to see even MORE pictures of babies and children from my friends, unless those businesses pay to reach me, even if I like them??”

EdgeRank Is Dead: Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Now Has Close To 100K Weight Factors

The next time you tell a client how Facebook selects and ranks the content that shows up in the News Feed, you’ll need to do it without using the word EdgeRank.

EdgeRank, Facebook’s original News Feed ranking system, is dead.

Facebook hasn’t used the word internally for about two-and-a-half years. That’s when the company began employing a more complex ranking algorithm based on machine learning. The current News Feed algorithm doesn’t have a catchy name, but it’s clear from talking to the company’s engineers that EdgeRank is a thing of the past.

During a phone call this week, Lars Backstrom, Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking at Facebook, estimated that there are as many as “100,000 individual weights in the model that produces News Feed.” The three original EdgeRank elements — Affinity, Weight and Time Decay — are still factors in News Feed ranking, but “other things are equally important,” he says.

In other words, the News Feed algorithm of today is much more sophisticated than just a couple years ago.

“The easiest analogy is to search engines and how they rank web pages,” Backstrom says. “It’s like comparing the Google of today with Alta Vista. Both Google and Bing have a lot of new signals, like personalization, that they use. It’s more sophisticated than the early days of search, when the words on a page were the most important thing.”

This has implications for marketers and business owners far beyond the wording used to describe News Feed rankings. It’s a reflection — and a cause, too — of today’s complex battle to reach Facebook users organically.

The winners? They’ll be the ones who understand how Facebook has moved past Affinity, Weight and Time Decay, and move past it themselves. Before we get into today’s News Feed algorithm, let’s go back a few years.

In The Beginning It Was … Turning Knobs
Facebook’s News Feed was born in September 2006, promising to provide … and I quote … “a personalized list of news stories throughout the day, so you’ll know when Mark adds Britney Spears to his Favorites or when your crush is single again.”

Yep, that’s a direct quote from the announcement. Cute, huh?

With the launch of News Feed, Facebook wanted to show users the most important content from their social network without making them click to visit their friends’ profiles. And it had to figure out a way to decide what was important to each person.

“In the beginning, News Feed ranking was turning knobs,” said Facebook VP of Product Chris Cox during Facebook’s recent News Feed media event. “Turn up photos a little bit, turn down platform stories a little bit.”

Cox gave a funny account of how he and a co-worker sat in Facebook’s offices and changed the ranking “knobs” based on feedback from users — feedback in the form of often angry emails and conversations with users outside the Facebook office.

Times were much simpler then.

From Knobs To EdgeRank
Facebook has obviously grown up a lot since then, particularly with the simultaneous launch of Facebook Ads and Pages in November 2007.

Businesses, clubs, and organizations began creating Facebook Pages and using them to try to reach existing and new fans. That meant more content and more chances for users’ News Feeds to get crowded and unwieldy.

The company advanced from “turning knobs” to EdgeRank, the algorithm that a) determined which of the thousands of stories (or “edges” as Facebook called them) qualified to show up in a user’s News Feed, and b) ranked them for display purposes. EdgeRank had three primary pieces:

Affinity — i.e., how close is the relationship between the user and the content/source?
Weight — i.e., what type of action was taken on the content?
Decay — i.e., how recent/current is the content?

EdgeRank made it possible for Facebook to give users a more personalized NewsFeed. As Cox explained, users that played a lot of games on Facebook could see more game-related content in their News Feed. Users that took part in a lot of Group discussions would see more content like that. And so forth.

From EdgeRank To… ?
With EdgeRank, the way you used Facebook largely determined what showed up in your News Feed. And it still does because, as Cox said last week, “We’re in the business of giving our users the most interesting possible experience every time they visit.”

But now that job is a lot more complicated than ever.

Consider that there are more than a billion people using Facebook each month. And 128 million in the U.S. that use Facebook every day. They’re using dozens of different mobile devices with different capabilities for displaying content. There are 18 million Pages, many of which are actively looking for attention and a way to show up the News Feed as often as possible. And that number doesn’t include the numerous businesses that are using Facebook via regular accounts rather than Pages.

With all of that going on, Facebook says that the typical user has about 1,500 stories that could show in the News Feed on every visit.

So how does Facebook decide what users see, and what content from Facebook Pages make it into the News Feed? As you can imagine, Facebook isn’t about to give away all the details, but Backstrom did talk openly about several ways that the algorithm has grown up in recent years.

Affinity, Weight & Time Decay

These are “still important,” Backstrom says, but there are now multiple weight levels. “There are a lot of different facets. We have categories and sub-categories of affinity.”

Facebook is attempting to measure how close each user is to friends and Pages, but that measurement isn’t just based on personal interactions. Backstrom says Facebook looks at global interactions, too, and those can outweigh personal interactions if the signal is strong enough.

“For example, if we show an update to 100 users, but only a couple of them interact with it, we may not show it in your News Feed. But if a lot of people are interacting with it, we might decide to show it to you, too.”

Relationship Settings

Another factor is the relationship settings that Facebook users can apply. With each friend, you can go a step further and label the person a “close friend” or “acquaintance.” With liked Pages, users can choose to “Get notifications” or “Receive updates,” and there are deeper settings to control what kind of content the user wants to see.

“We try to extract affinity naturally,” Backstrom says, “but if you go to the trouble to tell us more about your relationships, we will factor that in.”

Post Types

The News Feed algorithm takes into account the type of posts that each user tends to like. Users that often interact with photo posts are more likely to see more photo posts in the News Feed, and users that tend to click more on links will see more posts with links.

Backstrom says this is also applied on a deeper level. “It’s not just about global interactions. We also look at what types of posts you interact with the most from each friend.”

In other words, Facebook Page owners that continually publish one type of post are likely not having those posts seen by fans that interact with other types of posts.

Hide Post / Spam Reporting

News Feed visibility can also be impacted by users’ ability to hide posts or mark them as spam. But it’s not as simple as having a set threshold that will cause posts to stop showing in users’ News Feeds.

“For every story, we do the same computation,” Backstrom explains. “Given this story, and given the user’s history, what’s the probability that you’ll like this story? What’s the probably that you’ll hide it? We’re looking at this and trying to decide, is it a net positive to show this story in the News Feed?”

Further, Backstrom says there’s an element of decay when considering posts that have been hidden. Recent “hides” may carry more weight when deciding if a post shows in the News Feed, but those “hides” will have less impact as they decay over time.

Clicking On Ads, Viewing Other Timelines

The News Feed algorithm is completely separate from the algorithm that decides what ads to show, when to show ads, and where to show them. But how a user interacts with Facebook ads can influence what shows in the News Feed.

“Nothing is off the table when we’re looking at what we should show users,” Backstrom says. “It can be clicking on ads or looking at other timelines. It doesn’t have to be just what the user interacts with in the News Feed.”

Device & Technical Considerations

Yep, the News Feed algorithm even considers what device is being used and things like the speed of a user’s internet connection when deciding what to show.

“The technical limitations of some old feature phones make it impossible to show some content,” Backstrom. “We also know that some content doesn’t perform as well with Facebook users on certain devices. And if the user has a slow internet connection, we may show more text updates. We’re trying to show users content that they’ll find interesting and want to interact with.”

Story Bumping & Last Actor

Don’t forget these two changes that Facebook just announced last week. Story Bumping bends the “decay” rules by giving older, unseen posts a second chance at News Feed visibility if they’re still getting interaction.

Last Actor puts a premium on recency. Facebook is tracking a user’s most recent 50 interactions and giving them more weight when deciding what to show in the News Feed. This works on a rolling basis, so the value of an interaction will decline after the user has made 50 more recent interactions.

Final Thoughts
It should be clear that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has developed significantly over the past few years. EdgeRank is a thing of the past, and it’s been replaced by a machine learning-based algorithm that, as Backstrom says, “only ever gets more complicated.”

That poses new challenges for brands and marketers hoping to get attention on Facebook, but the company says its advice to Page owners and others is the same: Create and publish and a variety of interesting content that will attract shares, comments, likes and clicks. That requires understanding your Facebook fans — from the types of posts they interact with to the different devices they might be using when they’re on Facebook.

We’ll keep reporting on Facebook’s News Feed changes, and our contributing writers will keep sharing tips and advice, too. You might also keep an eye on the new Facebook for Business news page because the company has promised to be more open in the future about changes that affect how the News Feed works.

Matt McGee on Marketingland.com

Facebooks Edgerank Explained – Understanding Edgerank to help business

Understand Edgerank for facebook with neilw8man.com to get more from your facebook for business page. Knowing how it works can help you stand out from the crowd, understand how going viral can help you, why everyone tells you to engage with your audience.


What Is Facebook EdgeRank and Why Does It Matter?

The average Facebook user spends more than a quarter of his or her time on the site scrolling through the News Feed. For users, that means a lot of baby pictures and stale memes. For brands, it represents an opportunity.

See, Facebook brand pages don’t attract consumers — far from it. Virtually every fan of a brand, such as Coke, will never return to its page after an initial Like (if they even visited at all). So where’s the best place to reach that consumer?

You guessed it: News Feed. Brands are finally embracing social marketing in effective ways, but there’s still a lot to learn about the strategies of the medium and the algorithms that keep it running.

That’s where EdgeRank comes in. Whether you’re a brand or an average user, it’s helpful to understand what shows up in your News Feed and why.

Check out the infographic below, courtesy of Post Rocket, to educate yourself on EdgeRank.

Edgerank-101 Class is now open
Infographic Edgerank

By Bob Al-Greene on Mashable.com

GraphRank: The Method Behind Facebook’s News Feed

Here’s the answer to a question many of us have been wondering about since Facebook’s f8 developer conference: How does the new method for showing things in the news feed differ from the old?

Or, to put that in more technical terms, what’s the real difference between the GraphRank and EdgeRank algorithms (assuming it’s not just a change in branding)?

Neo Consulting put the answer in an infographic, based on work by EdgeRank Checker; let us know what you think of the material below in the comments section beneath this post.

Graphrank is for app developers
Graphrank is for app developers 

On Allfacebook.com

EdgeRank: The Secret Sauce That Makes Facebook’s News Feed Tick

Yesterday at its f8 developer conference, Facebook engineers Ruchi Sanghvi and Ari Steinberg gave what may be the first thorough walkthrough of the underpinnings of Facebook News Feed, the all-important page that users see when they first log on to the site. After giving an overview of the history of News Feed, which has evolved quite a bit since it launched in 2006, they offered some insight into the algorithms that allow News Feed to show you relevant content, collectively called EdgeRank.

graphshot3You may not realize it, but News Feed only displays a subset of the stories generated by your friends — if it displayed everything, there’s a good chance you’d be overwhelmed. Developers are always trying to make sure their sites and apps are publishing stories that make the cut, which has led to the concept of “News Feed Optimization”, and their success is dictated by EdgeRank.

At a high level, the EdgeRank formula is fairly straightforward. But first, some definitions: every item that shows up in your News Feed is considered an Object. If you have an Object in the News Feed (say, a status update), whenever another user interacts with that Object they’re creating what Facebook calls an Edge, which includes actions like tags and comments.

Each Edge has three components important to Facebook’s algorithm:

edgerankform2First, there’s an affinity score between the viewing user and the item’s creator — if you send your friend a lot of Facebook messages and check their profile often, then you’ll have a higher affinity score for that user than you would, say, an old acquaintance you haven’t spoken to in years.
Second, there’s a weight given to each type of Edge. A comment probably has more importance than a Like, for example.
And finally there’s the most obvious factor — time. The older an Edge is, the less important it becomes.
Multiply these factors for each Edge then add the Edge scores up and you have an Object’s EdgeRank. And the higher that is, the more likely your Object is to appear in the user’s feed. It’s worth pointing out that the act of creating an Object is also considered an Edge, which is what allows Objects to show up in your friends’ feeds before anyone has interacted with them.

In other, hopefully less confusing words, an Object is more likely to show up in your News Feed if people you know have been interacting with it recently. That really isn’t particularly surprising. Neither is the resulting message to developers: if you want your posts to show up in News Feed, make sure people will actually want to interact with them.

Some other interesting points: Steinberg hinted that a simpler version of News Feed may be on the way, as the current two-tabbed system is a bit complicated. That said, many people still use both tabs, with over 50% of users clicking over to the ‘most recent’ tab on a regular basis.

There were some things that the Facebook engineers wouldn’t talk about — the group sort of punted on a question regarding how stories initially get seeded, explaining that they weren’t going to unveil all of EdgeRank’s secrets. But they did say that there are some signals involved that weren’t detailed during the talk, and that they’re experimenting with more, like analyzing the outbound links users click on.