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What data nerds found when analyzing 500 million Facebook posts

When looking at millions of Facebook posts, data nerds offer trends, and experts assert how you should respond to this study.



Huge study yields interesting insight

BuzzSumo has published one of the biggest studies of Facebook marketing strategies to date. The researchers analyzed 500 million posts from 3 million Facebook pages over the course of eight months, looking especially at the most popular and successful pages. Their results provide helpful insights into how to most effectively use Facebook as a marketing tool.

BuzzSumo analyzed the times of day when posts are most and least popular. It turns out that the late morning and lunch hour are the most popular times that users read and respond to Facebook posts, most likely because people use Facebook at work more often than they do at home.

Posts in the evening and nighttime were less popular, as were posts on the weekends. In fact, there were 40 percent fewer responses to post on Saturday and Sunday than there were on the peak days, Tuesday and Wednesday.

How to respond? Experts refuse to form a consensus

Analysts have conflicting advice as to how to respond to this data. Some recommend posting more during the lull so that there will be less competition for your post; it will stand out more and will be more likely to show up on more users’ News Feeds.

Others argue that it’s only logical to post heavily during the most popular days and times, especially if you are testing a new marketing strategy. Why not compromise and try both?

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The study also categorized seven different types of highly popular posts, including photos without an accompanying link, questions, giveaways, links with or without a photo, and promotions. Posts with visual content, such as videos or pictures, were highly popular and resulted in a lot of comments, likes, and shares.

Experts recommend combining these categories into a single post, for example, by writing a post that contains a question, a link, and a picture all at once.

How to measure your own Facebook Page

Questions should be engaging and specific, starting with words like who, what, why, and how. Because they are quick and easy to answer, questions with a yes or no answer also result in a high volume of comments, which makes your post more likely to show up on more News Feeds.

For more insight into Facebook’s marketing potential, check out BuzzSumo’s tool, SumoRank. You can enter your page, or a competitor’s page, and SumoRank will compare the page to other popular pages and will give you additional data on what content on your page is leading to the highest user engagement.


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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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