We detailed our experience with beta access to Facebook’s testing of the new news feed. Facebook has officially unveiled the new news feed to all users as of 9/21/11. Feedback is starting to come in, however this time Facebook has provided context to all of the new changes. We’ll look at the new feed and how it will affect EdgeRank.
Facebook describes top stories as:
We determine whether something is a top story based on lots of factors, including your relationship to the person who posted the story, how many comments and likes it got, what type of story it is, etc. For example, a friend’s status update that might not normally be a top story may become a top story after many other friends comment on it.
This is essentially a layman’s explanation of EdgeRank. What this means for you: Objects that have high EdgeRank will populate your feed in the Top Stories area. Objects that don’t break the EdgeRank Threshold (ability to become a Top Story), will fall into a chronological order in Recent Stories.
If you check your Facebook news feed right now, you may not find any Top Stories listed above Recent Stories. This is because each user is presented a different feed based on their activity. Facebook explains it further:
But it’s not just the people you hear from that make your News Feed interesting. It also matters how much you visit Facebook. If you haven’t returned in a week, you may want to see a summary of top stories first. If you’ve already visited several times that day, you probably care more about recent news.
Users who more frequently check Facebook will see a larger emphasis on Recent Stories. Once you’ve checked out the Top Stories, they’ll begin to descend into your Recent Stories area of the feed. Users who check Facebook more infrequently, will see a large emphasis on Top Stories. They will be ‘sticky’ atop the news feed when you come to check out Facebook. Facebook is attempting to create a truly hybrid experience for the entire spectrum of users.
How will this affect Facebook marketing?
EdgeRank has essentially become unable to be “opted out”. Meaning, users can no longer simply switch over to Most Recent & skip Top News driven by EdgeRank. Now objects with high EdgeRank will be presented in the coveted Top Stories section. Users also have the ability to custom tailor their feed, by telling it which items they like to be in Top Stories and which items they do not. Most Facebook marketers are clamoring that EdgeRank is now more important than ever.
Quick strategies such as asking your fans to “Mark as top story” (which would increase their affinity with your Page) will start to appear as a result. We’ve also heard rumors that Page updates with very low EdgeRank haven’t even been appearing in the Recent Stories area. We’re investigating that currently, as that would have a huge impact on the necessity of optimizing for EdgeRank.
How does this effect EdgeRank Checker?
We’ll be monitoring the effect of the news feed across the board for all of our users. We anticipate that there maybe slight changes. We don’t want to make any sudden reactive adjustments too early, until we can further test how it affects Page’s results.
The quick take away is that we know EdgeRank is still here and has an impactful influence on the new news feed. With that being said, it’s important to drive engagement with your Page’s updates in order to leverage increased visibility in the Top Stories section.