Marketing Tips Blog

Rethink Your Next Photo Facebook Post

Mark Anderson - Monday, February 16, 2015

Here's an interesting new study posted on Business Insider about what type of posts get the most engagement on Facebook. The data shows that photos are the worst types of posts; this is even more surprising considering the recent study that came out that said the opposite--that photos were the best way to get your audience to engage The thought is that Facebook has changed their logarithm, yet again, that determines what gets shown to who and how many. Read their full story:

Data provided to Business Insider by social media analytics company Socialbakers shows just how badly photos perform compared with videos, links, and even simple text-only posts in terms of reach on Facebook.

What makes this data so remarkable is that it wasn't so long ago that posting photos used to give brand page owners the best chance of their posts being seen by their fans (Indeed, a Socialbakers study dated April 2014 declared "Photos Are Still King On Facebook.) Now the algorithm has changed, punishing photos, perhaps in response to page owners trying to game the system by constantly posting photos, or maybe because Facebook has been shifting its strategy ever more toward video in recent months.

The Socialbakers data, which covered 4,445 Brand pages and more than 670,000 posts between October 2014 and February 2015, shows that video is now the most effective way to reach users in the newsfeed, driving more than twice as much reach as photo posts.

Photos had the lowest organic reach (the percentage of a page's fans that see a post, without the page owner needing to pay for advertising to boost the post further) over the period, with only an average of 3 out of every 100 (3.7%) page fans seeing a photo post.

On the other hand, videos garnered an average organic reach of 8.7%. Links and text-only (defined by Socialbakers as "status") posts follow with organic reach average's of 5.3% and 5.8% respectively (although their positions in the organic reach hierarchy were interchangeable over the fourth quarter of 2014, as the chart below shows.)

Facebook organic reach SocialbakersSocialbakers

Those organic reach levels fall even further for the biggest pages on Facebook, those with 100,000 fans or more. But the hierarchy stays the same: 1) Video 2) Text-0nly 3) Link 4) Photo.

Facebook Socialbakers organic page reach big pagesSocialbakers

Socialbakers' data also shows that 27% of videos are promoted, but they're not getting the same punishment by the algorithm. That might just be because Facebook only relatively recently (compared with photos) allowed users and pages to upload video directly to Facebook.

Or it might be yet another sign that, behind the scenes, Facebook is stepping up its charge to become a competitor to YouTube. In a blog post published in January, Facebook revealed that the number of videos posted to the platform per person in the U.S. increased by 94% over the last year, and that 50% of Americans who use Facebook on a daily basis also watch at least 1 video on the platform every day. Meanwhile, Facebook is becoming one of the key video discoverability platforms on the internet, slicing off a huge chunk of YouTube's audience, and the company has reportedly created a team in Los Angeles charged with convincing YouTube's top stars to create exclusive-to-Facebook videos.

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