New Facebook Study: Increase your engagement through smaller communities

April 6, 2014

Our recent study of 5349 pages on Facebook has shown a tendency towards decreasing reach across businesses, but increasing engagement. Is that something you and your marketing peers can relate to? Learn more in our article on the changing Facebook algorithms and what you as a Facebook marketer need to know about it.

Our new study shows results that build on the trend from our comprehensive study of 5000 Facebook pages from December 2013 that also showed steadily decreasing Fan Penetration. That caused a lot of worries among marketers, but it’s time to put your frustrations aside and instead focus on what you actually can do to achieve as much value on Facebook as possible.

These are our main findings:

  • Fan Penetration has decreased from 25,2 % in August to 11,3 % in March 2014
  • Viral Amplification has decreased from 0,42 % in August to 0,39 % in March 2014
  • CTR has increased from 5,62 % in August to 8,33 % in March 2014

So what does that mean for your business? We have asked our Customer Development Specialist, Hans Tosti, and our Innovation Director, Mikael Lemberg, to share their thoughts below.

The Newsfeed is built to engage
“The reason why you might have experienced a decrease in your Fan Penetration during the past six months is because the Facebook algorithms have really narrowed down the number of users that will be exposed to your content. The main reason for this is that Facebook constantly tries to ensure that the people who see your content are the ones, who find it engaging, interesting and relevant”, says Hans Tosti.

“If you think about it from your own perspective as a Facebook user, our lists of friends are constantly increasing. We follow more and more brands on Facebook, we participate and involve ourselves in different groups, and last but not least we often access Facebook from our smartphones”, Hans continues.

“If you melt this down to the very basics, you will see that being mobile and continuously on the run also means that we no longer spend time clicking on different profiles, but primarily focus on what we are exposed to in our newsfeeds. The newsfeed offers limited space, and if the users have many friends and like many brands it becomes really important to expose them to the content that Facebook knows is interesting to and engaging for them”, Hans says.

A Large Fan Base is not a Success Factor anymore
“For a long time now, when our customers came to us and said that they wanted to spend money on advertising in order to increase their fanbase, we instantly told them that the size of their fanbase is not directly related to their success on Facebook. As always, it is better to count on quality than quantity”, Hans continues.

“Instead, brands should focus on having smaller fan bases, create some local pages and actually ensure that the users who like their page really love the brand and want to engage with it. Fan engagement is a crucial factor on Facebook, and as long as you prove to Facebook that your fans really are willing to engage with you, no matter the size of your fanbase, the algorithms will automatically ensure that your brand shines through in the newsfeed” says Hans Tosti.

Engage and go viral!
Besides increasing engagement, our study also shows that viral amplification has decreased. Our Innovation Director, Mikael Lemberg, offers this explanation: “From my point of view, the decreasing viral amplification has taken place due to Facebook’s algorithm change that lowered the priority of text updates versus link posts”.

In continuation, Mikael Lemberg adds: “While links often include a call to action (e.g. a website visit), text updates on the other hand typically posses what we can call a “call to interaction“, meaning that updates like that normally encourage people to comment or respond. So when businesses suddenly realized that the algorithms favored link posts they immediately started to down prioritize their interactive content.

“As viral amplification is based on user-interaction and not call to action based updates, this KPI naturally started to decrease. Obviously once again, this highlights the importance of engaging content instead of pushy sales messages”, Mikael concludes.

The bottom line of our study is businesses must create Facebook relevant and engaging content, and move their focus away from a large fan base to a smaller fan base that really loves the brand and wants to engage.

At the same time, businesses should consider lowering the amount of their call to action posts and focus on interactive posts instead. Brands must also support their content efforts with Facebook advertising, in order to maintain a high level of Fan Penetration, while improving their page’s reach and engagement.

In Komfo we help businesses navigate the constantly changing social media landscape, and for Facebook we offer an automated service for advertising – our Ad Manager. This tool can help you reach more people in your target audience and increase fan engagement. If you want to know more about the Ad Manager and talk to one of our ad specialists, please contact us or try our Free Facebook Analytics tool to check how your page is performing.

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