Thursday, June 09, 2011

science and good manners

We've discussed the conundrum we often experience with brands using Facebook pages before.

This often manifests itself in what we defined as Mott The Hoople Syndrome.
This Syndrome being the affliction by which brands spend most of the time talking about themselves, principally to only themselves.

While I'm pleased with myself around this cute theory the science is there to back it up.

The fallacy of Facebook is the one in which Marketers will imagine that amassing thousands of Facebook fans/likes for a page somehow equates to an audience.

The truth of the matter is, in fact, the exact opposite.

Understand this.

The destination within Facebook is not the branded page but the individual users news feed.
(Over 30% of Facebook traffic is from mobile devices, and thats not going to head backwards anytime soon. )

It's important to grasp how Facebook filters content that will appear in any users news feed. In a rare instance of putting-their-users-first Facebook filter the content in a users news feed in order to try and keep it relevant to the individual.

They do this with a process called Edge Rank.

Edge Rank in simple terms goes something like this.

(SEO expert types out there will no doubt correct me on some of these simplifications but this is enough for the layperson to get it and be about 70% more effective in one swoop)


News Feed item (ie status update) = Object.
User interaction = Edge (ie likes, tags and comments)

Each Edge has three components integral to Facebook’s algorithm:

1- Affinity - (engagement) score between the viewer and creator based on previous interactions

2 - Edge weight - A comment is heavier than a Like, for example.

3 – Time (decay) - The older an Edge is, the less important it becomes.

Ergo:
An Object is more likely to show up in your News Feed if
you and people you know have been interacting with it or it’s creator, recently.

So social context and quality of interactions are the most important factors for Facebook engagement.
Simply amassing vast numbers of fans or followers (ie buying likes) has little or no value.

Science and good manners. The magic formula.

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