Stop Calling the Facebook News Feed Algorithm ‘EdgeRank’


A little over a year ago, I stopped using the term, “EdgeRank” when referring to the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine when and where in the news feed that posts appear. Someone at Facebook had told me that it was no longer used so I stopped talking about it.

Over time, it crept back into my vernacular. It wasn’t that anything had changed – the new, more complex system was still well in place – but it became confusing to clients and prospects when I called it “the Facebook news feed ranking algorithm”. It was even more confusing when trying to talk to those who were knowledgeable enough to ask about EdgeRank. In those situations, I’d often spend several minutes explaining that EdgeRank no longer existed in its original form but that the three primary influencing factors were still part of the equation.

As a result, I started just calling it EdgeRank again. Now, it’s time to officially correct that course and call it what it is, an unnamed and exceptionally complex ranking algorithm that plays within itself at times to determine if and when a post made by an individual or a page can show up in an individual’s news feed. The old factors are still there… along with a rumored 100,000 other factors.

It’s good to start using the right terminology again. I always felt an internal cringe whenever I said it, but it passed.

There’s something about the algorithm that has intrigued me ever since I started playing with it over 2 years ago. My marketing career began in search and the all-powerful Google search ranking algorithm has always been a constant battle for those of us pursuing its mastery. However, as complex as the Google algorithm is, it has nothing on the Facebook algorithm. The intricacies are intense and the effects that it has on the visibility of posts makes it much more challenging than anything in search land.

Anyone who plays in the search and social world is likely in awe of the ever-changing ways that both algorithms play with our emotions, but at the end of the day it’s the Facebook algorithm that is more of a work of art. No offense, Google.

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  1. Great article… explains why some of my Facebook posts get really high reach and some of them don’t even though they generate similar levels of engagement.

    ….and 5 shots over ice #omg!!

  2. Thanks for the request for a pingback, I was flattered that you’d referenced my article but am looking for where the reference that necessitated the pingback is – couldn’t find it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, though!

    The 100,000 other factors you referenced in your article isn’t a rumor, that’s been confirmed by multiple Facebook employees and I -think- it was even discussed at a press release… but you’re right, it is a complicated algorithm. What’s less confusing is the overarching theme of pay attention to your content mix and tailor it to your audience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Gary

    That certainly explains why I have more ads in my newsfeed than posts from friends that I want to see and why I seldom read the newsfeed section. At least they haven’t screwed with the group algorithms yet.

  4. I’ll just call it the Facebook Raccoon since it’s cool to name an algorithm after animals.