Recently, I gave a presentation to my colleagues about the inner workings of Facebook and why those inner workings are so important to understand. You see, we are seriously misguided when it comes to our Facebook content.
What we think: I just threw my latest blog post up on Facebook, I have 30,000 fans so they’ll all see it. Why is no one “liking” it? It must have been awful. Le sigh.
What’s really happening: Only a tiny percentage of your fans actually even saw your post.
This is because of Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank. EdgeRank is an algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what content it thinks will be interesting to you. It uses your affinity to edges (people, places, events, pages, etc.), what type of media is being shared, and the time decay to determine your interest in content that would show up in your newsfeed. Facebook does this to prevent us (the users) from being overwhelmed with too much content from all of your connections – because by your 5th year on Facebook you’re connected to a LOT (if you’re anything like me).
That’s where EdgeRank comes in. It assigns a value to every possible story that gets posted on Facebook. There are 3 components to the EdgeRank algorithm – here’s a breakdown of why no one is seeing your content:
Affinity: Affinity values the relationship between the user and the page OR the friend that created the item. More popular pages, therefore, will receive a greater affinity score because they are connected to more people (they probly also post better content then you – but don’t take that too personally). A good way to judge how well you’re doing in the affinity department, try looking at both your ‘Weekly Total Reach’ and ‘People Talking About This’ (PTAT) metrics in Facebook insights. I noticed that a majority of pages have a less than 1% PTAT to # of fans ratio. Only 1% of your fans are creating a story from your page (liking, commenting, writing on your wall, etc) while your weekly total reach may be around 25-50%. This represents how many news feeds your content ended up in (not necessarily fans).
These numbers can be kind of depressing, no? So little people even get the chance to experience the (sometimes) awesomeness that are your Facebook posts. Increasing affinity can be done in a number of ways; find better content, advertise to your fans, talk to people, run contests, whatever.
Next up, Weight: Weight assigns different values to various content types, with a greater weight given to rich media content (photos, Facebook video, and native objects such as FB Questions). Facebook knows what kind of media you favor – for example: if every time I log onto Facebook I mainly look at photos, Facebook will weigh photos heavier to me. Links & plain text status updates are not always going to do it for you.
Time Decay: Speaks for itself, really – values recent activity with more importance.
I hope this gives you some insight into why your content may not be getting consumed at all – and this should help you develop a strategy that takes these key factors into consideration when posting.
Understand the platforms you are using, down to the algorithm.