What is EdgeRank?

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EdgeRank is an algorithm developed by Facebook to govern what is displayed (and how high) on the News Feed.

What is the EdgeRank algorithm?

This algorithm can be understood as: the sum of Edges, each Edge is made up of (Affinity, Weight, & Time Decay). This may sound complicated at first, but when you begin to understand the underlying concept, it’s actually a brilliantly simple and effective algorithm. We’ll dive into the details and provide a working example.

What is an Edge?
An Edge is basically everything that “happens” in Facebook. Examples of Edges would be status updates, comments, likes, and shares. There are many more Edges than our small list, simply put any action that happens within Facebook is an Edge.

What Does EdgeRank Do?
EdgeRank ranks Edges in the News Feed. EdgeRank looks at all of the Edges that are connected to the User, it then ranks each edge to understand the importance to the User. Objects with the highest EdgeRank will typically go to the top of the News Feed (there is a small component of randomization).

What is Affinity?
Affinity is a one-way relationship between a User and an Edge. It could be understood as how close of a “relationship” a Brand and a Fan may have. Affinity is built by repeat interactions with a Brand’s Edges. Actions such as Commenting, Liking, Sharing, Clicking, and even Messaging can influence a User’s Affinity.

What is Weight?
Weight is a value system created by Facebook to increase/decrease the value of certain actions within Facebook. Commenting is more involved and therefore deemed more valuable than a Like. In the weighting system, Comments would have a higher value than a Like. In this system all Edges are assigned a value chosen by Facebook. As a general rule, it’s best to assume Edges that take the most time to accomplish tend to weigh more.

For engagement Edges we generally say Shares > Comments > Likes > Clicks. For content type Edges we’ve seen Videos > Photos > Status Updates > Links.

What is Time Decay?
Time Decay refers to how long the Edge has been alive; the older it is the less valuable it is. Time Decay is the easiest of the variables to understand. Mathematically it is understood as 1/(Time Since Action). As an Edge ages, it loses value. This helps keep the News Feed fresh with interesting new content, as opposed to lingering old content.

Working Example
Chad Wittman’s Hypothetical News Feed:

  • Brother’s Photo (Created recently, no engagement)
  • High School Friend Status Update (Created 12 hours ago, high engagement)
  • Brand Page’s Photo (Created 4 hours ago, high engagement)
  • Casual Acquaintance Status Update (Created 2 hours ago, low engagement)

EdgeRank Working Example

Why are these updates arranged in this particular order? Ultimately, EdgeRank is the determining factor of this particular arrangement. As you can see, a brand that leverages EdgeRank was able to enter the News Feed among friends and family.

Why is EdgeRank Important?
If a Brand generally has low EdgeRank objects, then the Brand’s updates will be seen by less people. This means that their Facebook marketing budget is being less effective than it could be. Brands that are succeeding with high EdgeRank objects are leveraging their Facebook budget by multitudes. The difference between leveraging and being punished by EdgeRank is substantial. The difference can result in a 5x difference in exposure.

What is EdgeRank Checker’s EdgeRank Score?
EdgeRank Checker measures the average impact of EdgeRank on a Brand. EdgeRank Scores are determined per object, per day with the average Fan. This helps Brands get a general understanding of how EdgeRank is impacting their Facebook marketing efforts. EdgeRank Scores can fluctuate depending on the success of their objects and Competitive EdgeRank. It’s free and easy to check your EdgeRank Score.

How Do I Optimize For EdgeRank?
Your Brand will ultimately be judged by your ability to engage your content. Some Brands have natural success such as the NBA and NFL due to their media rich and highly engaged audience.

22 Comments on “What is EdgeRank?

  1. Jimbob

    Great article. Note that “leveraging by multitudes” is redundant. “To leverage” means to create a multiplicative relationship between things. Still, a great article.

    • jimbo

      It does? That’s news to me.

    • Samir

      Really? 2×3 = 6. Does that mean saying 6×10 is a multiple of 6 is redundant?

  2. It’s really great application, which number will be called good EdgeRank.

  3. elicia

    I have been posting on my business page and every time I post, I personally like or comment on the post. I also use my other business pages to get about 4 “likes” instantly. Still, I can go to my personal page, and the post doesn’t show up there. By this article, I would think since I engage with every post, it would at least show up in my news feed. Am I thinking about this wrong?

    • Chad Wittman

      I would never recommending your own content, ever. It sends mixed signals to your customers and we’ve seen evidence that Facebook monitors potential abusing of self liking tactics.

  4. Dan Jost

    Great article, helps explain Edge Rank really quick and simply. Thank you!

    One question I have is whether it’s best for a brand to post only when they expect high engagement and Edge Rank (say, 2x per week) than posting once a day to help build affinity with fans with posts that are average in engagement expectations.

    Also, EdgeRank Checker’s stats and reports are easily skewed by paid media, altering which days it recommends you post, content type, etc. This is something that should be fixed asap. Posting a photo album is also not fairly scored, as the thousands of clicks, photo views, and dozens of likes and comments within the photo album are not aggregated.

    • Chad Wittman

      Thanks for your feedback. As for your question, of course it depends. If the content that you will be publishing daily is of decent quality, then you can achieve your goals post more frequently with less engagement. However, if this supplemental content is subpar we’d recommend avoiding posting it to maximize your EdgeRank. It ultimately boils down to you producing excellent content, we try to help the publication of that excellent content.

      We appreciate your complaints as well, we hope to solve these issues in the future.

  5. Julie

    I received our EdgeRank w/ the free report but it doesn’t explain what the number means for us. I have no idea if it’s considered good, bad or average. Is there a page that explains the number system? Thanks.

  6. Karen Goodman

    I have a real estate page and regularly post something about a house on the market or that just sold with a link to the blog post for that house. I’ve noticed higher engagement when I just post the house picture with a comment. That, combined with this article suggests that I should start posting pictures and then add the link below in the first comment…as if I was adding it as an afterthought.

    Do you agree this would better than simply posting the link?

    • Chad Wittman

      The best way to find out for sure is to test it. Try it out, measure the results and try again next week. Every community is a little bit different, but it always comes back to your goals. Does that help?

  7. Sam

    Thanks for the great article! I’m still a little confused about the picture in the “Working Example” section.

    Why is the status update from the high school friend shown before the photo from the brand even though a status has low edge value and a photo has high edge value?

    I know it doesn’t work so simply but if you add up the low, med, and highs, you get 1 low, 1 med, and 2 highs for the status whereas you get 1 low and 3 highs for the photo.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Chad Wittman

      It of course doesn’t work this simply, but in our example the main difference between the two updates is the mutual friend aspect with the High School Friend. They both share the social relationship with a mutual user. In our example, that’s enough to get ranked ahead of the other update.

  8. LennART

    Okey I will pack my things and leave facebook, my brand will now die now….. And pages that says “Hit LIKE if you want to live in this house” Will thrive outstandingly. And be even more visible…. I hate those pages…

  9. An interesting read, the article is great for explaining the basics. For brands the issue is reaching their likers with new content, especially when they’ve done just on action which is liking the page and then never did another action again on the brand page. In this case, you can have a big amount of likers but the reach is low which doesn’t help that much. The only way to increase the reach would be of course good content but also some ads targeting your likers. The question is what happens with small brands which have very low budgets? Well, the edge rank will go down till just some likers which are very active will see the posts or will get up with the edge rank in time but will have to post regularly and only engaging content.

  10. Donatus

    Everything is worth trying, i will check it out. but will not like allow my brand die.

  11. Really useful guide thanks. I am doing OK with Twitter but really finding it hard to get traction with Facebook. Totaaly different game I guess.

  12. Wow!, this is a great tool for facebook marketing. It would easily track the statistics and how your post was being accessed by users. So I think I should try this one.

  13. Arun

    Thats great post!!!
    I am studying EdgeRank and this article is very useful for me and it has depth knowledge with perfect examples.

    Is it possible to have high edge value and low engagement. It may be possible that post is not relevant to community. But in my case I approximately post 2 updates daily. All post belongs to same category but it still have very low engagement of peoples. What could be the reason of this?

  14. Rosa

    Interesting how u need to pay for Edgerank – $15 per month per page – money making scheme I guess.

    • Chad Wittman

      The $15 is for access to EdgeRank Checker Pro’s analytics, not to automatically get distribution on Facebook’s news feed. Please let me know if you still have questions.

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