What Is Edge Rank and How Does It Affect Your Brand?

08 / Nov / 2012

By Jordan Linford

socialmediaFacebook is a part of life, that is just something we have to accept whether we like it or not. You can hardly turn on a the TV, read a magazine, or visit a website without seeing a business asking for you to like their page. Maybe you have asked yourself why they care so much? Should I be caring more about my Facebook image?

Many marketers still struggle with a Facebook marketing strategy. They slap up a page and turn on the open sign and wait. Because Facebook is so savvy and has successfully navigated through the waters of spammers and viruses (the very same waters where Myspace sunk to the bottom) they have made it tricky for a business to promote their pages on Facebook. You have to buy an ad or promote the page through your own personal Facebook page, neither of which I would recommend.

This is why it is important to know what Edgerank is. Edgerank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to decide whether or not your page will be visible and to whom it will be visible to. The Edgerank algorithm bases its results on three factors.

1. Affinity.
You need likes, comments, and most importantly, shares. This shows Facebook that what you have posted and where you have posted it might be interesting to the friends of those who have liked, commented, and shared your post. Have you ever noticed in your news feed that the last person you engaged with on Facebook is now showing up in your news feed? That is because Edgerank assumes you will interested in what they are doing based on your interactions with them. The same holds true for Businesses.

2. Weight.
Edgerank places a weight of importance on each action that takes place. The more involved the action, the more weight it holds. For example likes are easy, it takes a few seconds to do and therefore hold little weight. Comments take more time and show more engagment, thus they hold more weight. Shares are hold the most weight because it is as if you are personally endorsing the content within that post.

3. Time Decay
Edgerank wants to promote the newest and freshest information to its users. The longer a post has been up, the less impact it has according to Edgerank. If you have a post that is attracting a lot of attention and creates a conversation that is ongoing, then your post will remain the freshest and the newest. Bottom line is that Edgerank likes new and fresh posts and content.

EdgeRank has become so important that third-party businesses are being built on measuring your effectiveness with it (EdgeRankChecker.com) and determining how to improve your results with it (PageLever.com). Facebook continues to experiment with how to best filter content to users from their friends and favorite Pages. Recently, Facebook was testing a headlines feature that also seemed to use EdgeRank. The question is will Facebook improve EdgeRank, or jettison it in favor of something else?

Further, will Facebook begin to incorporate ways to see what is most popular across allof Facebook? At this time, everything we see on Facebook is personalized, but thousands of people might be sharing a news item or video. On Twitter it’s always possible to see what the biggest trends or hashtags are- will Facebook move forward showing globally popular content, even to a small degree?

Google has been the leader of Internet marketing and web traffic for years now, receiving the majority of all search traffic, remaining the top website on the internet for many years now.  After beating all its competitors, including Yahoo!  And Bing, and acquiring YouTube, which is the second most searched site on the internet, it seemed no one could challenge or beat them.
However, Facebook has been neck and neck with Google for the past year, and it no longer seems unlikely that Facebook will overtake the search giant.  What’s more, Facebook’s ad revenues continues to climb, and it uses keyword technology in its News Feed to group related posts.  If Facebook improves on its keyword-finding abilities and extends that kind of targeting to its advertising, it will overcome the last barrier to targeting superiority and unlock even greater ROI for advertisers.  And this could relegate Google to a disappointing also-ran within two to three years.

Google’s competitive edge has always been understanding exactly what people want right now (buying intent signaled by keywords), and Facebook’s has been its effectiveness at social media.  Google has been unable to break the social puzzle sufficiently to get big momentum, so if Facebook figures out keyword intent within social activities, Facebook might just win the race.

As previously suggested, Facebook has the opportunity to distinguish itself as the single login across the interwebs. Along with this, Facebook could provide tools to these websites that could be integrated easily and also have users interacting with the Facebook flatform.  While Skype has continued to increase in popularity with both individuals and the business sector as an instant messaging service and a cheap way to connect with others via video, and also as a substitute for phone service.

Suggestion is that Facebook could chip away at Skype with a video chat service, but in July 2011, Skype and Facebook teamed up to merge functionality. What’s interesting is that Microsoft acquire Skype, as well as a small percentage of Facebook, and when buying Skype, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft insisted on meeting with Mark Zuckerberg to create a functional and strategic alliance. All of this is part of their war against major competitor Google.

Facebook will continue implementing many more features over the coming months and years.  Some of these will be refreshes of current features, and many others will be new ways for us to become even more obsessed with the social network. Whatever these new features are, we advise you to review them in a marketers point of view. Try to explore how you can use these features to be more useful, develop community, and engage your fans, prospects and customers.

Whether we choose to use Facebook solely as a personal social network to connect with friends and family or to help humanize and grow your company, remember that Facebook is a tool. The real value of Facebook is how you use the various features for you and your community. Facebook is positioned to become the first social network to reach a billion users. With that growth will come more features, and more ways for you and your company to connect with your prospects, customers, colleagues, and fans. Facebook in many ways has always been part of any company’s marketing plan.

So be creative, engaging, and interesting as you can be on your Facebook page and over time you will see great benefits.