How Facebook’s Algorithm Really Works

Understanding how to improve your Facebook page starts with learning how Facebook works; EdgeRank is Facebook’s version of Google Page Rank. I want to take you through EdgeRank to understand how you can use Facebook’s Algorithms to your advantage when posting within social media. This will start with understanding what Facebook’s Algorithm actually is.

What is EdgeRank?

EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that decides which stories will appear within your newsfeed, Facebook calls every action within Facebook an ‘Edge’ (this action could be a status update, a comment, a photo or anything that you do on Facebook except a click through). With that in mind there are 1.32 billion monthly active users as of June 30 (https://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/), meaning Facebook need ensure that they are showing you the best content possible, which is why they created an algorithm to rate the Edges you see, giving you relevant content within your newsfeed.

What Does EdgeRank Do?

Facebook will analyse all of the content you could see and provide you with what they believe is the most relevant for you. Once Facebook have ranked all of your related Edges it will typically show objects with the highest EdgeRank at the top of the news feed.

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Now you know what Facebook’s process is and why they use it you can now start to understand how EdgeRank score each Edge posted on Facebook. Each Edge is made up of Affinity, Weight and Time Decay. I am now going to take you through each phase, and how Facebook use each one within EdgeRank.

Affinity Score

An Affinity Score looks at the strength of how close you are to the person on Facebook (for example how many mutual friends you have or how frequently you converse with them). Facebook will show you who you want to see, this is an important factor for Facebook. (If someone you never converse with has a really high Weight and Time Decay score the likelihood is that you still will not see their posts).
One thing to remember with Affinity Scores is that most Affinity scores are one way, just because you have a high affinity score for one person does not mean they will have the same affinity score for you.

Edge Weight

The weight of each Edge is different, a comment is generally higher ranked than a like, and this is because Facebook considers the user to be more engaged by that content for them to take the time to write a comment. As a general rule it is assumed that Edges that take the most time to do will tend to weigh more. Although Facebook does change the Edge weights, as it takes into account what it thinks the user will find most engaging.

Time Decay

EdgeRank organises your posts every time a user logs into Facebook, their news feeds will be populated with edges that have the highest score at that time. The older the post gets the less EdgeRank points it will have, as it is becoming old news. Not only that, but Facebook has also begun to adjust time decay depending on; how long it was since the user last logged in to Facebook, and how frequently they log in.
If you are interested in measuring your EdgeRank, you can do this; by seeing how many people you have reached and how much engagement you have within Facebook analytics tools. It is important to keep in mind that EdgeRank is invisible and no one other than Facebook really know exactly how it works but there are certain techniques that help improve your EdgeRank score.

Grace Bethell
Grace Bethell is a BA (hons) Advertising graduate from Southampton Solent University. She has specialised in Digital Marketing as well as being certified in Direct and Digital Marketing by the Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM). Grace wrote her thesis on Social Media, focusing on how brands engage through visual social media platforms. Grace works within the Inbound Search & Social team at Digital Clarity and manages accounts across a range of multi-disciplined verticals.