Last night Facebook revealed changes to the algorithm it uses to determine which stories appear in a user's news feed.
This was an interesting development for a number of reasons. Here are my five takeaways and learnings for brands
Businesses have always struggled to measure quality. The challenge in social media is no better. In fact, it’s considerably worse.
Even the best attempts at measuring quality of a customer relationship, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), rely on numbers, in the case of NPS a ranking from one to 10, and this has always seemed somehow inadequate to convey the different values and feelings involved.
Google has done a reasonable job of measuring the quality of content published online and ranking it accordingly, yet if you search for “social media quality” you’ll be presented with a list of deeply mediocre, SEO-focused blog posts on the topic.
Perhaps Google’s Authorship will fix this, but the challenge is clear.
So what does quality mean in the context of social media?
Now there’s one thing you can be certain of whenever there’s a new launch from Facebook there’s going to be a huge amount of speculation about what it means for digital marketers; but now they’ve made a stab at launching a search engine - there will be even more than usual.
First, let's get the biggest caveat out the way, I’ve not used the search functionality yet, I’m on the beta waiting list, along with thousands of others, but I have poured over all the write ups including this excellent write up of the story behind by Steven Levy, which I think even tops his great piece about the launch of Google Plus.
Despite that lack of practical experience of the new functionality, for the last couple of years I’ve thrown myself into understanding the Edgerank Algorithm, aka the rules that decide what appears in your newsfeed and come from a search marketing background.
Startups looking to become the next big thing on the social web may find it more difficult to raise capital going forward, but there's good news for the major players in the space today: the amount of money advertisers spend on social ads is set to grow considerably in the next several years.
By just how much? According to a new report by BIA/Kelsey, spending on social ads will double in four years, growing from $4.6bn this year to $9.2bn in 2016.
2012 has been an interesting year for brand marketers active on Facebook. The world's social network went public and as a result, has more aggressively moved to monetize its massive audience. That in turn has introduced some new dynamics to the Facebook-brand relationship.
Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around changes Facebook has apparently made to its Edgerank algorithm. The theory: Facebook is making it more difficult for brands to reach their fans organically in an effort to promote use of its Promoted Posts ad product.
Facebook may have justified its then-$1bn purchase of Instagram on a number of grounds, but one thing is for sure: with brand adoption of the popular mobile photo-based social network surging, Facebook is inevitably going to try to capitalize on the commercial potential of its new asset.
Ironically, that means that, despite the fact that mobile is almost certainly Facebook's future, the world's largest social network needs to make Instagram more web-friendly.
In May, the world's largest social network went public in what was one of the most highly-anticipated IPOs in history. But, as Metallica might say, the soothing light at the end of Facebook's tunnel turned out to be a freight train. Thanks to an exorbitant valuation, exchange glitches and growing skepticism about Facebook's ability to make money, shares of Facebook stock, which was priced at $38, were quickly battered to the twenties, and then to the teens.
Facebook can't turn back the hands of time and redo its public debut, but it can convince Wall Street that it is going to make money and lots of it. And that's precisely what it has been focusing on since May.
There are seemingly countless ways that social data could be applied to search, and there has been significant discussion around how major search engines will integrate social into their algorithms and user experiences.
Already, Google and Bing have experimented with social features, and today, the latter announced even more social integration.
Facebook may have a long way to go in proving that it can monetize its rapidly growing mobile audience, but with its IPO just days away, the company is making it clear that it has plenty of options for generating revenue.
Case in point: the world's largest social network is experimenting with a "Highlight" option that allows users to pay for a status update that may be more widely distributed and seen for a longer period of time.
It's been nine months since I wrote the original Ultimate Guide to the Facebook Edgerank Algorithm. I was amazed to see the reaction to the piece.
It clearly seemed to strike a chord as it went on to be the most popular guest post on Econsultancy in 2012.
But a lot has changed since then in the world of Facebook. As I'm currently putting together a presentation for the upcoming Econsultancy Digital Shorts event in Manchester on Edgerank and other social algorithms, now seemed the perfect time to revisit the piece to update and expand it.