On September 20th, it was reported that Facebook made a significant change to EdgeRank. This change resulted in a loss of Organic Reach for a vast majority of Pages. The fallout of this change is still being analyzed and many pages are reporting changes in their optimal content types. EdgeRank Checker decided to look at the data to see if these changes made any impact on the dominance of photos on the news feed.
We found that in September, Videos actually edged out Photos for the most Reach. This was most likely due to exceptional content during that time period, as opposed to an inherit preference from Facebook. The September breakdown is as follows: Video > Photo > Status > Link.
However, in October this order drastically changed. As you can see, almost all of the content types experienced an extensive decrease in Reach. But one content type actually improved: Status Updates. So before jumping to conclusions, we opted to analyze Engagement levels as well to see if there was any relation.
What About Engagement?
Overall for both September and October engagement on Photos crushed the other content types. Interestingly though, during the month of October engagement on Photos did decrease slightly, while Status Update engagement marginally increased.
What Does This All Mean?
This illustrates two things. First, that Reach has most likely decreased for almost all brands (although Engagement has stayed relatively steady). Nonetheless, brands that have a high Status Update strategy may have not felt the change as strongly as brands that rely heavily on a Photo strategy.
Second, Photos are still the best overall strategy. You might ask, “How so? Reach for Status Updates exceeds Photos? Why would I stick with Photos?” But this is looking at two different periods of time. Engaging your audience is always the better practice than focusing exclusively on Reach percentages.
Why Still Focus on Engagement as opposed to Reach?
It’s never a good idea to focus “exclusively” on one approach. Both Engagement and Reach are incredibly valuable metrics to monitor. However, a one-off change like this should not completely alter your strategy. We believe this latest EdgeRank change is rooted in heavier penalizations for Negative Feedback. Our assumption was that most Negative Feedback reports are caused by “spammy” Photo strategies.
We decided to look at what “spammy” Pages tend to post. We found that these Pages posted Photos around 50% of the time, with Links around 35% of the time. This data indicated that brands are more likely to accidentally abuse their Photo strategy by posting irrelevant content, which is then being marked with Negative Feedback.
What Does My Brand Do About This?
We advise brand managers to continue to focus on creating engaging Photo content, but be careful with what users might tag as “Negative Feedback”. The EdgeRank Checker Real-Time Dashboard feature allows brand managers to see what users are marking as Negative Feedback in near real-time. If you see a post gathering Negative Feedback—be especially wary of photos—remove the Post from your Timeline.