The Unofficial Official Study of Reach Since December 2nd

September’s Reach was approximately 12.6%. In the week before the change, we were seeing Reach of about 9.5%. After the change, we’re seeing Reach of about 7.7% (a -19% change). So in the short term, we’re seeing a -19% change but from September to December, we saw a loss of -39%. The graph below shows that Reach fell from ~9.5% to about ~7.7%. Surprisingly, we did not see a drastic day in which a change was implemented—although many Admins reported seeing changes around 12/3.


What Happened?

Facebook made an announcement (12/2) addressing a few changes to the news feed:

  • More Links will be displayed within the news feed.
  • Links that are commented on by friends will receive a bump in the news feed.
  • Memes will receive a decrease in the news feed.

In an interview with All Things Digital (12/6), Facebook news feed manager Lars Backstrom said the changes “might have a 10 or 20 percent impact”. We heard from Admins and witnessed ourselves decreases that were much more severe than that.

After examining some preliminary data, we found that Status Updates had remained roughly equal in Reach—however, we saw significant decreases in Reach for Links and Photos (roughly 50%). We wanted to dive deeper in the data to find any trends.

What Did We Find?

Examining the week before December 2nd and the week after, Organic Reach decreased by roughly -21% from 9.4% to 7.5%. This loss was a continuation from September, when Reach was 12.6%. All in all, Reach has decreased quickly over the past few months. About a year and a half ago, Reach was approximately 16%. As of today, Reach is now half of that. Continue reading

New Feature: Find Out When Your Audience is Online

Facebook recently opened up a new data source for us to tap into. We’re now able to examine when your Facebook fans are online. We’ve built a new feature called Audience Online to allow you to analyze their patterns.

Facebook Audience Online

We’ve built a heat map to give you a quick visual sense of when your audience is online. In the graph above, you can see that 8am to 3pm was the best time for this Page’s audience. As the week progresses, the audience online seems to dwindle later in the evening.
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Cyber Monday has less traffic than Black Friday & Thanksgiving

Thanks to a new data source from Facebook, we’re now able to study how many people were on Facebook throughout a day. We studied Facebook users’ behavior for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and now we’ve compiled data for Cyber Monday.

Here’s a look at the traffic pattern for Cyber Monday:


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How Did People Use Facebook On Thanksgiving & Black Friday?

When do people use Facebook on Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Facebook recently opened up access to a new metric that enables us to see exactly when your fans are online. We’ve examined when people are on Facebook in the past and found that users are mostly on during traditional waking hours. The more local a fan base, the more drastic this timing impacts your brand. We wanted to a take a look at Thanksgiving and Black Friday to see if there were any changes in the data.

Below is a graph of Facebook Audience Online Traffic (PST) for USA focused Facebook Pages. The green in the graph represents the average activity for the month of November. The red represents Thanksgiving traffic, and blue represents Black Friday‘s traffic.

Nov-2013-Facebook-Audience-Online-Traffic Continue reading

Facebook Announces More Links In The News Feed

Facebook has announced another significant tweak to the news feed algorithm (often called EdgeRank). You can read their blog article in full or check out our summary of the changes here.

What Did Facebook Announce?

  • More Links will be displayed within the news feed.
  • Links that are commented on by friends will receive a bump in the news feed.
  • Memes will receive a decrease in the news feed.

More Links In The News Feed

Facebook has noticed a trend of people consuming more Links. Facebook is now placing a heavier importance on Links and how Links are consumed on mobile devices. Facebook emphasizes the importance of mobile and how these browsing behaviors may be different than desktop consumption.

Facebook Links

Comment Stories

Story Bumping (unveiled this summer) takes old posts and reintroduces them into the news feed at a later time. With Comment Stories (when a friend comments on a Link) their friends will now be more likely to see the old post. This creates more engagement for the users and the Page with the post.

This places a new emphasis on acquiring fans that are friends. If your audience has Affinity with each other, this will increase the likelihood of your objects being exposed in the news feed more often with Story Bumping.

Memes Penalty

Facebook used their announcement to once again bash memes. We recently discussed how Facebook may identify memes, but Facebook got more specific. Facebook mentions “a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook.” This seems to imply that memes via Facebook Photos are penalized less than memes on Imgur, livememe, and makeameme.

Regardless of where a meme is hosted, it’s quite clear that Facebook wants less of them on their platform, especially if they’re not a Facebook Photo. As always, we recommend avoiding memes in general.

What Can You Do To Take Advantage Of These Changes?

If you’re a publisher, the good news is that you don’t have to change much. If you’re a photographer or heavy photo publisher, you may see a decrease in exposure. The news feed has finite space. If Links have a heavier weight—Photos have less.

  • Don’t be afraid of posting Links
  • Consider decreasing Photo posts in lieu of posting more Links
  • Build fans that are friends with each other to benefit from Comment Stories
  • Avoid using memes, especially those not hosted on Facebook

Ultimately this announcement is great for Pages that rely more frequently on Links than Photos. If you’re not a publisher-type, don’t worry, Facebook still wants “to show the right content to the right people at the right time.” If your Photos are engaging, your audience wants Photos, and you should be fine.

How Facebook Handles Memes

A few months ago, Facebook announced they would be punishing “meme content.” There was a lot of concern on how Facebook would actually enforce this. Facebook hinted at using machine learning to identify meme content, while others suggested that it’s too hard to differentiate. But it appears that we may have an understanding of how they categorize meme content. Facebook has recently started to ask for more direct user input into how they display objects in the news feed:

News Feed Survey

This survey is appended to certain objects in the news feed to provide a sort of check-and-balance system. Facebook also implemented a more robust dialogue when hiding an object in your news feed:

Facebook - What's wrong with this post?

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Recommendations Now Tell You What To Do In Plain-English

Facebook marketing has evolved. Long gone are the days of posting something at a particular time of day and repeating as often as possible. Social media marketing is about identifying the essence of engagement. Why do people take time out of their day to Like, Comment, or even Share your commercial message? An overcrowded news feed with millions of brands vying for exposure to users has lead to an emphasis on quality.

We feel it’s our job to identify what is quality content, and using our findings to help you distribute it optimally.

Facebook Recommendations To Improve Page Continue reading

Average Facebook Page Reaches 12.6%

Facebook doesn’t often reveal baseline statistics for their platform. The typical number floating around regarding Reach is about 16%. Last Fall, there was some disagreement on this number as Facebook had made significant changes to the news feed algorithm.

Interestingly enough, when Facebook had studied Reach, they had examined Reach of Fans (which is included in Insights). This number was higher than some 3rd Party Analytical providers (including us) were seeing. Ironically, Facebook shows Organic Reach (including non-fans) in Insights, as the default view. In order to find this subtle difference, you must navigate to the Posts tabs, drill down Reach from Organic/Paid to Fans/Non-Fans. Facebook likes to show the user the higher number of the two in Insights, but tends to use a different number in their studies. To clarify, we’re using Organic Reach / Number of Fans on Day of Post.

Most Page Admins focus on Organic Reach as it relates to the size of their fan base to keep things relative. From time to time, we examine these impacts to see any changes across the board. We found that the average Facebook page reaches 12.6% of their audience.

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How Does Posting Via Instagram Impact Engagement on Facebook?

Since Facebook acquired Instagram, we’ve been getting questions on how the news feed is being impacted. We’ve heard reports ranging from incredible success with Instagram, to it not having much of an impact, so we decided to take a look.

Posting Via Instagram Has No Impact on Facebook Page

Our initial hypothesis was that using Instagram would cause a small bump in engagement and exposure. The logic was two-fold: Facebook may have increased the weight of the objects, and posts from Instagram are always photos or videos—with visual filters—that are potentially more eye-catching.

However, our data shows that metrics such as Engagement, Organic Reach, and Viral Reach all remain fairly consistent while not using Instagram.

Median Engagement per Fan was fairly close, 2.39% for Facebook vs 2.15% on Instagram. This difference is within normal expectations.

Engagement-Rate-Instagram-vs-Facebook Continue reading