In January of 2018, Facebook made an announcement that its News Feed would be changing moving forward. This change affected the type of content that Facebook users would see first and most often, providing the opportunity for users to interact with people that matter most to them. A few months before this, the company explained that it had been weaponized to spread false information to influence the presidential election. The voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica came forward with further information backing these claims; they stated that personal user information had, in fact, been improperly leveraged. Later that year, the change in the News Feed algorithm led to a drastic drop in engagement for Business Pages – some dropped by 50%. The engagement soon made a significant increase in the year 2019 for select sources of content. This blog post will explore different types of engagement on the social media platform, Facebook.
Web Content Engagement
NewsWhip conducted a study that put a focus on the engagement with Pages on Facebook and content shared on the platform. To accomplish this, the company studied 27 million web articles to learn more about the content that was interacted with the most on Facebook. Within the early months of 2019, NewsWhip found that web content that included links to articles or content that can be found off of Facebook’s Pages experienced 1.5 times more engagement on Facebook than in 2018.
NewsWhip’s study also found that certain formats found on native Facebook Pages outperformed others that were frequently used. When Facebook initially announced its News Feed algorithm change, live videos obtained six times the engagement as did prerecorded videos however, NewsWhip found that live photos took up the lowest percentage of top-performing content formats. Photos were found to be the most popular format as they accounted for almost half of the top 10,000 Facebook posts in the year 2019.
When referring to the average number of engagements per post content type, native video outperformed photos. The native video, however, dominated content formats when referring to the average number of shares because it was able to outperform photos, live videos, and links at the time. Live videos were ranked the highest within the category of average comments by post type which could be due to various news videos or popular current events that tend to go viral.
The Future of Web Content
Live videos performing highly within the category of average comments could be a result of the viral nature of popular topics that tend to spark conversation – which is what Facebook’s CEO desired for the platform. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, shared a post in which he expressed a desire for Facebook users to make social interactions on the social network and explained that live videos were a place that encouraged this type of dialogue. More recently, Zuckerberg switched his stance and indicated that meaningful interactions on Facebook should be kept private. He then went on to predict that the future of communication will switch to a more private place so that people can feel safe to express what they want to one another.
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