Benchmarking your facebook content strategy

OK, so let’s imagine that you or your client have a Facebook brand page with a healthy 50,000 likes.

You’re posting an entertaining mix of links back to your site, photos and the occasional piece of video.

So the question is, what kind of interaction levels should you expect to be getting?

To get to an answer, I’m mashing together a couple of recent pieces of research. The first, from an article by Robin Grant in Techcrunch looks at EdgeRank – which is the algorithm Facebook uses to work out which updates make it into your news feed. It’s pretty clear that distribution of content by brands has dropped by some 40% in just three months – and that the drop is fairly uniform across even the most popular Facebook pages.

Facebook-reach-Nov12

What this means is that if you have 100,000 fans of your page, on average Facebook will only show each of your content updates to 10% of them, or 10,000 people. And – not wanting to spoil anyone’s Christmas – that graph doesn’t look like it is levelling off any time soon.

So that gives us a number for the reach of each page. The other number we need is the average engagement level – and for that we can turn to the excellent edgerankchecker.com, who have a recent post on engagement levels by type of content.

Here’s the relevant chart from that post, showing changes in engagement over September and October 2012.Median_Engagement_Oct12

This by the way chimes with what we’ve been hearing for quite a while – that photos work much much better on Facebook than video. And that might be down to the number of people who access Facebook via mobile – the last thing you want to do is spend £3 of your own cash to watch some hilarious clip on YouTube.

Piecing these two pieces of data together, we can get to a quite crude benchmark for how you’d expect different kinds of content to engage with your fans.facebook-benchmarks-nov12So does this work? OK, here is a highly unscientific test based on a sample of, er, one.

I have chosen this recent post from Ocado simply because Ocado has almost exactly 100,000 Facebook fans, which makes the maths pretty straightforward.Screen-Shot-2012-11-22-at-15.50.29

It’s a photo (obviously) so I would predict 60 engagements – and in actual fact it scores 65 likes, 12 comments and 3 shares giving a total engagement score of 80. So on this basis, you could say that this post has performed slightly ahead of expectations – which I guess you would expect given that it’s a nice topical posting.

Of course, this only applies to organic postings on Facebook – you can always increase the reach of any posting by using Facebook Sponsored Stories and this will clearly boost your engagement scores. And – like any benchmark – it is only an average. If you have exceptional content you can blow these figures completely out of the water – as President Obama proved with this, the most liked photograph in Facebook history.obama-fb_270x377

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