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Strategic analysis
Reverse Engineering Facebook EdgeRank - Beyond the Theory

Everyone is talking about the theory of Facebook EdgeRank, but are their assumptions actually true. We are about to find out!

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Written by on November 28, 2012

Facebook EdgeRank has been a hot topic ever since it was created. Some defend it vigorously saying that it brings in added value, while others believe that it takes it away. Then we have the debate about promoting a post to make yourself more visible in people's newsfeeds, and the drop in reach for most brands.

The problem is that most articles only look at a small piece of the puzzle and based on that, people make conclusions about the bigger picture...conclusions that aren't exactly true. The other problem is that many people only look at the theory of how Facebook EdgeRank is supposed to work, and then based on that they engage in a certain way.

For instance, many social consultancies are encouraging you to create highly engaging posts because that will, in theory, make your future posts more visible to more people. For instance, Simply Measured recommend that you post more "Fill in the blanks" posts because they drive the most engagement.

You know, the type of post where a brands asks: "I like hot chocolate because ________", encouraging you to add the missing word (post a comment) which will increase the brand's EdgeRank score (in theory).

But is this true? Is Facebook really that shallow, or is there something else going on here that these social consultancies don't see because they are too blinded by their narrow surveys?

Back in September when most brands suddenly experienced a massive drop in reach, I was getting fed up with all these incomplete studies and erroneous conclusions. So during the entire month of October and most of November, I studied data for three very carefully selected brands to see if I could find the real answer to just how Facebook EdgeRank impacts brands. And the result, detailed in this report, was surprising in many ways.

Here for instance, is how Likes, Comments, and Shares impact how often a post is repeated in the news feed:

Why EdgeRank?

Before we look at the data, let's just briefly sum up why EdgeRank even exists. Everyone who is working with social media knows that the true power lies in the news feed. This is true for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and all the others.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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