Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithm keeps marketers on their toes when it comes to how to get the most visibility from status updates. So TrackMaven set out to uncover how to gain more engagement from Facebook posts with its latest research published in "The Marketing Maven's Guide to Facebook," which studied more than 5,000 Facebook pages and about 1.6 million posts.
What it discovered was that in many instances, pages saw more engagement during the hours and days you may least expect it.
Similar to the results TrackMaven uncovered in its blog post study and Twitter research, this study shows that most brands were active with their marketing activities during the business week; however, posting Monday through Friday during normal business hours was not always the most effective on Facebook.
TrackMaven found that while there was a significant drop in the frequency of posts on the weekends, the average engagement (measured as number of interactions per post in the study) was much higher for posts on Saturdays and Sundays.
Posts published on Sundays experienced the most engagement, with an average of 2.72 interactions per post. Comparitavely, the average high Monday through Friday was 2.27 interactions per post. So, posting on Sundays was 25 percent more effective than posting on Wednesdays, for example.
Time of day mattered, too, TrackMaven says. While the majority of pages studied posted to Facebook during the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) window, the most engagement occurred after hours, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., with 2.49 interactions per post (versus the average of 2.24 during the workday).
As Facebook is a social network for people to connect with friends and family, it makes sense that many are using the platform after work hours, perusing their feeds for the latest on their loved ones. Last year, Webtrends gave tips on how brands can be better at becoming a part of that experience with their Facebook marketing.
With this new data from TrackMaven, you may be curious as to how to use it with your Facebook analytics, being that recommendations exist in Facebook Insights for the best time of day to post.
TrackMaven says that while Facebook Insights shows when a page’s audience is on Facebook, TrackMaven's data highlights benchmarks and competitive times to post "that could push your post to the top or the bottom of a fan's News Feed," says Sabel Harris, director of marketing at TrackMaven.
"For example, let's say you check your Facebook Insights to see when your audience is online and most are online at 12 p.m. In our data set, we found that 12 p.m. is the most popular time for Facebook posts; however, they don't receive nearly as many interactions as a post after hours," she says.
Harris says the data points provided in TrackMaven's latest research can show businesses how engaging a post is depending on the time it is posted, and that research complements Facebook Insights, which shows what is happening with a business’s own Facebook page, as opposed to the landscape of the News Feed.
When Facebook announced it would be changing how visible a page’s post may be if it were just text, it forced marketers to think more visually with their brand's updates, if they hadn’t been already. TrackMaven’s research shows that updates with photos attached saw an average of 2.35 interactions per post, versus just 1.71 for those without photos.
And what about Facebook hashtags? It’s been about one year since Facebook’s hashtags were first introduced, and some were skeptical they would catch on and help posts be discovered in public feeds. Research from last year showed it wasn't necessarily helping.
TrackMaven's research shows hashtags were not being adopted overall today, with the majority (83.93 percent) of posts not containing any. Among posts that did include hashtags, the majority included only one. But that one hashtag did increase engagement, according to the study.
"Fewer than one in six posts contain hashtags, but those that do see 60 percent greater engagement on average," TrackMaven says in its report. Interestingly, posts that used seven hashtags, says TrackMaven, saw "exceptional" engagement from their audience.