As most digital marketers are aware, both Google and Bing use quality scores to determine how often your ads are shown and how much you have to pay per click. In my opinion, the overall cost per click that you pay is more closely related to quality score than the bid itself.

As we enter the age of social media advertising, it’s important that we understand what will effect the delivery of our social content.

Enter edgerank, Facebook’s equivalent to quality score.

Many people know that not every one of your fans sees every one of your posts – but what most people don’t know is actually how few people actually do see your post. According to Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s Ad Architect:

“Organically, you get anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent of your fans, that you reach organically. In order to reach the remaining 80 to 85 percent, sponsoring posts is important.”

Edgerank is what determines who sees your post and how often. Here’s a generality as to how it’s calculated.

Affinity: Affinity defines how closely a user and an object (post, image, video) are connected. For example, I share a lot of posts with my brother-in-law. In addition, we share 20+ common friends. My affinity with my brother-in-law would be fairly high.

Weight: Each object is given a weight and actions on that object (such as likes or comments) add to that weight. There’s even speculation that how likes and comments are generated modifies the weight (was the like generated through an ad or did the user search for the page and like it on their own?).

Time Decay: This is the simplest of the three – as a post ages, it decreases in edgerank.

Why is this important to you?

I’m going to assume that you built and maintain a Facebook page to connect with your customers. I’m also going to assume that you spent a good bit of time generating content for your page. If the statistics that Facebook provides are true, 85% of the fans you have aren’t seeing your content.

While creating more engaging Facebook content is a first step, that in of itself isn’t enough. If you outperformed the average organic delivery – you’d still be missing 60-70% of your fans. The answer was right in Gokul Rajaram’s quote: “in order to reach the remaining 80 to 85 percent, sponsoring posts is important.”

Most people inherently avoid paying to promote content – after all, part of what is supposed to make social media enticing is that you can build a connection with a consumer and communicate with them without the cost of advertising.

The simple fact of the matter is that if you’re going to post, you’re going to have to promote those posts – otherwise your posts are falling on deaf ears.