People are talking about the “hit” their Page has taken since Facebook made alterations to its EdgeRank algorithm. The most common complaints include: “Page engagement levels are down” and “The News Feed has been disrupted.” But is there any truth to these allegations?
When Facebook implements something new — like an algorithm update — it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. For the past couple of months, there have been four Facebook myths circulating the interwebs — most of which people would be surprised to know are false.
Myth 1: Facebook is intentionally hurting Reach and post engagement levels. Facebook actually makes changes to their algorithms — including EdgeRank — all the time. So what made this change so different?
First, Reach recently became the newest and hottest Facebook metric. It wasn’t until last summer that Facebook started displaying Reach metrics at the bottom of each Timeline post. Suddenly, Page admins were keenly aware of how many users were seeing their posts and noticed immediately if there was a difference.
Second, with these contrasting Reach metrics in hand, bloggers began to grumble against Facebook, saying the proof that Reach had been affected was in the data. Everyone was sharing, liking, tweeting and commenting on these blog articles that suggested Facebook’s only intention with the algorithm change was to profit from Pages.
The bottom line: Without Reach metrics, Facebook’s latest EdgeRank update would have gone unnoticed, just as others have in the past.
Myth 2: The new EdgeRank algorithm isn’t showing as many Page posts in the News Feed. There are more active Facebook users posting and sharing content than there have ever been before. According to the Pew Research Center, a Facebook user has, on average, 229 Facebook friends. With so much content being shared among friends, it makes it very difficult for brands to compete.
Facebook’s primary goal is to make its users happy. Facebook adjusts the EdgeRank algorithm so that the News Feed best caters to users’ likes and interests while reducing spam. It’s the brand’s responsibility to improve the quality of their content so that it’s valuable, entertaining and ultimately, competitive.
Myth 3: Facebook just wants Pages to spend money on Promoted Posts. Facebook is a corporation and needs to make money in order to please its shareholders, but it also needs to take care of its users. Facebook does this by offering users and brands tools — such as Promoted Posts — to improve their experience. Facebook users might think Facebook staffers don’t listen, but they do. Not too long ago, Facebook issued an update to its Promoted Posts feature so that posts are targeted to countries with higher numbers of a brand’s fans. If brands started viewing Facebook as more of an ally, the introduction of Promoted Posts would have been better received.
Myth 4: Removing EdgeRank will solve everything. It was reported that in 2009 Facebook tried an organic, real-time News Feed. As a result, users complained and engagement dramatically declined. But Facebook’s News Feed without EdgeRank would be like Twitter. Posts would not occupy space in the News Feed for long, and users would frequently miss out on the content that interests them most. Getting rid of EdgeRank does not benefit users or brands.
Facebook’s decisions that affect users/customers are bound to be subject to criticism. It’s up to users, and brands especially, to make sound judgments and react prudently.
For some tips on how to get more reach with your Facebook business Page, check out this article: 4 Tips for Promoting Your Facebook Application.
Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service custom app design tool used to create apps for Facebook Pages, websites and mobile Web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines and more.