Facebook recently unveiled a news feed object: “Upcoming Events”. It’s still undetermined if Facebook is testing the object, or if it’s being rolled out across the network. The object was placed atop my news feed while looking at the Top Stories. At first glance, this appears to be a rather mundane update to the news feed, but to us it represented much more.
I’ve been long predicting the rise of a wider diversity of input signals into the EdgeRank algorithm to increase the relevancy of the news feed. Previously, it was only speculation whether Facebook considered geo proximity as a signal, and ultimately a factor.
This object in the news feed represents an indisputable signal into EdgeRank. In this particular example, Facebook looked at my location (Chicago, IL) and compared it against the location of an event of a local Chicago band. I’m a fan of the band on Facebook, but was not previously invited or connected to the event. Facebook identified the Affinity between myself and the Page, as well as our geo proximity!
Albeit a subtle change, this represents the first location based input signal into an object on the news feed. This news should be exciting for brands on Facebook, especially brands that have a local retail presence. Having geo proximity with your fans could potentially drive greater Reach for your objects.
More elaborate signals will continually be added to EdgeRank as the algorithm grows with sophistication. Geo proximity is an excellent new addition as it could also have significant influence in the mobile news feed, which offers a huge opportunity for a wide variety of new input signals.