Edge Rank Explained

Edge Rank, for those who’ve never heard of it, is Facebook’s semi-secret algorithm that determines what content is shown to users. The first common misconception that needs to be alleviated, is that everything on Facebook is treated equally, and that your timeline is a conveyer belt churning out status updates as they are published.


In fact, there is an underlying system which analyses every single thing that happens on Facebook, and determines how interesting it will be to individual users. This system is called Edge Rank, and it’s incredibly important that brands have a good understanding of how it works if they want their core messaging to achieve meaningful reach.

We wouldn’t know much about Edge Rank if Facebook’s news feed product manager Will Cathart, hadn’t himself provided a basic breakdown of how it works. Essentially, Edge Rank looks at 3 variables: affinity, weight and time decay. Furthermore, it not only looks at your personal Facebook activity to determine what content will be of most interest to you, but it also looks at other Facebook users react to it.

For a full explanation of Facebook’s content distribution mechanism, check out this infographic, created by Postrocket. 

who sees your posts on the facebook news feed

  • Heinrich

    Hi, quick question. I thought about this the other day and I think it is very important for any Social Media Community Manager/Representative to know what Edgerank is. But let me get down to my main point.

    I have read an article about what to do when a really big tragedy happens, like the Boston Bombings. They say that you should stop all scheduled updates (in which I don’t really believe) / email marketing etc. Do you think that it is because it will get lost in the noise? I had quite a slow day engagement wise on that particular day. Edgerank also played a role in that if I understand it correctly, right?

    April 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm
  • Nic Simmonds

    Hi Heinrich

    Thanks for commenting.

    I think when something of significant national or global importance happens, community managers should take note, and investigate whether any changes need to be made to their content rollout. I think this has more to do with ensuring the tone of your content is not insensitive to what ever is happening, than anything else.

    However, one could also argue that regular messaging does get lost in the noise of extreme hype. Edgerank will play a role in cases like this because it identifies content that people are paying great attention to, and puts that above everything else.

    April 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

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