Socialbakers took a sample of approximately 90,000 posts from 24,000 business Facebook pages around the world during the week of November 26-December 2, 2012 and analyzed the top 10% most engaging posts. Of those, 89% were photos, with the remainder being links (4%), videos (4%), and status updates (3%).
Some of that dominance in engagement on the part of Facebook photos is due to their volume. Among that initial sample of 90,000 posts, for example, 77% were photos, with the remainder split among links (9%), status updates (7%), video (6%), and others (1%).
Even when taking that into account, though, photos appear to generate higher-than-average engagement. The HubSpot study, which examined 1,545 B2B and B2C companies in October 2012, found photos generating 53% more likes than the average post (including link, text, and photo posts) and 104% more comments than the average post.
Content Types See Varying Reach
Earlier research from Socialbakers indicates that post types not only see varying engagement rates, but also from an Edgerank perspective, different levels of organic reach.
Gone are the days when a Facebook business page "Fan" would see every post a business places on their Facebook page. With the rising application of Facebook's "Edgerank" algorithm, Facebook determines which posts placed by a business are most likely to be relevant to each fan of that page, which results in that content either appearing in the Facebook user's News feed... or not.
For that analysis, Socialbakers examined 47,783 from 274 Facebook business pages from August through October, finding a general decline in average reach during each month, from 19% in August to 16% in September and 12% in October.
(Studies from Group M Next and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, as reported by Ad Age, also have found a general decline in post reach, although those studies also found engagement to be rising.)
The decline in organic Edgerank driven "reach" (appearing in Facebook user page fan news feeds) found by Socialbakers was more pronounced for some post types than others:
- Links; which boasted the highest level of organic reach in August, at 22%, saw that figure drop to 19% in September and 15% in October. That equates to a 35% drop during that time period.
- Photos; which counted as the content type with the second-highest reach in August (19%), saw a drop to 16% in September and 12% in October. In all, a 36% fall over the 3-month period.
- Status updates; by contrast, held fairly steady throughout the period, at 16% organic reach in August, 14% in September, and 15% in October. Organic reach for videos, meanwhile, fell from 16% in August to 12% in October.
Overall then, while photos generate above-average engagement on Facebook, they have seen a steady decline in reach, to the point where they trail links and status updates on this measure.
- 60% of the photo/image posts analyzed by HubSpot did not include a link, a huge missed opportunity for car dealers and automotive marketers.
- According to the Socialbakers analysis of post reach, by the last week of October, average post reach was down to just 8-9%. By the following week, images and links were reaching an average of only 8% of fan bases, with videos trailing at 5-6% reach.