Have you ever noticed the seemingly random nature of your Facebook News Feed? You’ll be scrolling through and notice that one of your friend’s stories from several hours ago appears at the top of the page, while a more recent story from another friend appears towards the bottom of the page. Why doesn’t Facebook show them in chronological order?
Well, the system isn’t as goofy as it looks. There’s a method to the madness. And whether you’re a brand or an average Joe, it’s helpful to know how, where, and why Facebook shows posts to you.
Facebook uses a precise algorithm named EdgeRank to pick and choose the priority levels of your friends’ stories. The algorithm measures three variables: affinity, weight, and time decay:
Affinity: Essentially, this is all about interaction. You’ll be shown the stories of friends you interact with frequently more than friends you interact with infrequently. Note that interactivity is a one-way street — just because you’re seeing a lot of stories from a certain friend doesn’t mean that friend is seeing a lot of your stories.
Weight: Posts with photos and videos attached carry more weight than plain text posts. But comments and likes carry weight, too, and can help promote stories to the top of the page regardless of whether it’s a photo, link, or text.
Time Decay: Older stories are much less valuable than newer ones.
So why do these variables matter? Because if you’re a business on Facebook, the vast majority of your fans will never check your page. Your best chance of reaching them is through their News Feeds.
Well, that’s just great. So how do I improve my EdgeRank?
Here’s where this neat infographic from PostRocket comes in handy. Some tips:
- Asking for opinions or fill-in-the-blank questions will get you 90% more engagement than the average post.
- Post at optimal times for your audience — this means that for the 18-24 year-old demographic, the most engagement happens on posts between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm!
Read on for more tips, and a more thorough explanation of the principles.