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Published February 7th 2016

How To Improve Facebook Engagement: Insights From 1bn Posts

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As you know, at BuzzSumo we love discovering insights from big data. We took this to a new level in January when we analyzed over 1 billion posts from 30m brand pages on Facebook. We shared our findings with Neil Patel, who pulled out the key insights from this research for marketers. You can read his post on the implications for Facebook marketing here.

We have summarised the key findings from the research and analysis in the slides below.

In summary, the core findings are as follows.

8 Insights From 1bn Facebook Posts

  1. The post formats that get the most engagement are questions and images.
  2. Short form text posts of less than 50 characters get the most interaction. It seems Facebook is not a place for reading but finding and engaging.
  3. Videos that are directly embedded get over six times the engagement of embedded YouTube videos.
  4. Surprisingly posts without hashtags get more interaction than posts with hashtags.
  5. Posts published between 10 PM and Midnight of your audience’s local time get the most engagement. It seems publishing when there are less posts being published, and vying for attention, increases engagement. Thus you should zig when others zag.
  6. Posts published on Sunday get more engagement on average. Again this seems due to less competition from other posts.
  7. Posts that link to longer form articles over over 1,000 words get the most engagement.
  8. Posting images via Instagram appear to provide a 23% increase in engagement.

How do these findings chime with your own Facebook experience?

We have previously set out how Facebook is becoming a major content discovery platform that all sites, both B2B and B2C need to engage with.  Recent data from Parse.ly on the sources driving traffic confirms this trend as we can see below.

Parse.ly’s database includes over 400 major news and media outlets, including Wired, The Atlantic, Reuters, Mashable, The Next Web and Business Insider. These sites receive over 6 billion page views and over 1 billion unique visitors per month.

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