Using Facebook Interests Lists To Improve EdgeRank

by Chad Wittman on Mar 12, 2012
See top industry experts speak at Social Fresh 2018 / Dec. 5-7
Where social marketers go to get inspired. Speakers include BET, American Cancer Society, 5/3 Bank, Duke University, Sallie Mae, IBM, Darden, Georgia State University, Chris Brogan, Brian Fanzo, Ekaterina Walter, and more.
>> Reserve your seat today

Facebook Interest ListsFacebook Interests Lists were launched last week, allowing users to subscribe to their favorite interests.

“Interest lists can help you turn Facebook into your own personalized newspaper… Find traditional news sections like Business, Sports, Style or get much more personalized—like Tech News, NBA Players & Art Critics.”
(via Facebook)

Any user is able to create an Interests list which can consist of both People and Pages.

The idea is to allow users to subscribe to several interests such as the NBA, Tech GadgetsEntrepreneurs, EdgeRank, and many more.

This creates a more free flowing News Feed experience as the best content from just about any brand may be presented in your News Feed.

Preliminary Analysis

  • Interests objects are shown no more than 2 at a time
  • The 2 objects displayed seem to have higher EdgeRank than other objects within same Interest
  • When Interests’ objects enter a user’s News Feed, they disappear after recording a unique user Reached

Why did Facebook create Interests lists?

Facebook most likely did this for a variety of reasons. In my opinion, their main motivation is to provide additional opportunities to accomplish their promised Reach percentages when brands start leveraging Reach Generator (What is Reach Generator? Essentially high end brands will be able to buy a substantial level of Reach).

It also could be viewed as a stab at Twitter’s Lists functionality where users can arrange people/brands they follow into relevant groupings. It also serves as an opportunity to provide Facebook users new and unique content that is being consumed outside their circle of friends.

This could hypothetically become a mini version of Digg, Reddit, or Buzzfeed with their best content only being displayed.

What does this mean for my brand?

Brands have an exciting new opportunity to increase the exposure of their content. Brands that are added to to multiple Interests Lists now have the potential ability to extend their Reach well past their Fan base.

Brands that are generating the most engaging content (and therefore the highest EdgeRank objects) can now be rewarded with many more additional people Reached.

How does a brand take advantage of this?

Creating engaging content is the key to success on Facebook. With the addition of Interests lists, this path to success is still the same. The only caveat this new feature adds for brand managers is networking with owners of very popular Interests lists.

For example, a hypothetical Interests list exists for “Dream Cars” which has 1 million subscribers. John Doe created the Interest and manages who is included. John has included manufacturers such as Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maserati, and Mercedes.

Currently, any other brands would have to be manually added by John. There is no process to get your brand amended to this chosen list. A brand manager from a company such as BMW would have to make a pitch to John in order to be included on this list.

However, being on this list could potentially massively increase Reach, Engagement, Clicks, and ultimately increase bottom line ROI from social.

Suddenly, John has a lot of influence within the luxury car world due to the control of this Interest list. This will begin a new game of brands positioning themselves to be included in these lists. The best way to get into these lists is by providing awesome unique content that can’t be found anywhere else. The brands that succeed in doing this, won’t have to network there way into a list. They’ll be added because they’re doing something awesome.

As of right now, it is uncertain how Facebook will address this in the future. Currently, most of the largely subscribed lists were created and are now managed by Facebook employees. Time will tell if this will lead to official moderation.

It’s difficult to tell how many Facebook users will ultimately use this new feature. Typically new features are adopted at a fairly low rate, unless Facebook forces exposure. The value of being included in these lists will depend on the adoption rate of this new feature.

Post Author

Co-Founder & VP of Product at Dolly, an iPhone and Android app that is like Uber meets U-Haul or Lyft for Moving. Former Founder of EdgeRank Checker (acquired by Socialbakers)...

  • Thanks for the explanation. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly people adopt this new feature…

  • Debbie Ward

    It sounds to me almost like an RSS reader inside of Facebook, where you can bring content to yourself by subscribing to lists. It will be interesting to see how Facebook ultimately decides who gets on these lists – will it be based on Edgerank score, advertising dollars or some other metric that signifies good content…I would hate to see only big brands have the opportunity to get on a list. This could be great for smaller, niche businesses. It will also be interesting to see how narrow the interest lists will become. For example, instead of “luxury cars” will you be able to have a narrower focus like “antique luxury cars?”

  • Thanks for the post – I’m always interested in learning more about ways to impact EdgeRank scores. I like Debbie’s idea of having EdgeRank score as a factor of list inclusion. Possibly something for the list creator that’s a “suggest to add” feature which is based on EdgeRank score and content/keyword relativity so that there is at least some factor of the lists that can’t be “bought” into.

    I just completed a webinar review for my company of 5 ways to boost EdgeRank scores – using lists wasn’t on my radar but I think there are a few good ideas which could compliment a Facebook List strategy. Here’s a link to the blog post transcript, recording and slides.

  • I like the idea.  As a social media manager, I use Twitter lists all the time and I am hoping these Interest Lists will work in a similar manner.  I have started only one list so far, as it takes a bit of time to curate a list of proportion, but I wil be working on it in my spare hours!   i like the idea that people can follow your lists, much like on Twitter.  That’s where leaders lead and followers follow.  Thanks for the post.  

  • Right now it appears I don’t need to Like a Page in order to add it to an Interest List.  (Doesn’t this defeat one of the goals of some pages, to gain users?) 

  • Not quite. Think of it in from the opposite perspective, you’re reaching an audience that have yet to like your brand. 

  • Sram Jiri
  • I love this new feature. It’s allowed me to *completely* clear out anything that’s not *personal* from my main newsfeed!  (FB doesn’t make it easy for you to figure out how to do this but I’ve done it.) UNFORTUNATELY, Interest Lists don’t appear on my mobile app.  I’m assuming (?) it’ll be fixed when the next big mobile update comes out (that includes mobile ads !?)