During Wednesday’s algorithm announcement, Facebook said that every time someone visits the News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, public figures, and Pages. Prior to this week’s changes, only about 57 percent of possible stories were seen, revealing that the lifespan of a post isn’t very long.
A new study from Wisemetrics not only confirms this, but showed that a Facebook post’s lifetime is even shorter than we originally thought. The idea behind this was to be able to predict, as soon as possible, if a post will fail or beat expectations. As a community manager, this is key in determining when to publish your next post.
The company found that 75 percent of engagement occurs within the first five hours, but the study didn’t stop there. Wisemetrics also looked at impressions and reach which both had disappointing results. Even shorter than engagement, 75 percent of impressions were achieved in just two hours and 30 minutes. Reach was even worse, which hit 75 percent of its maximum in only one hour and 50 minutes.
Facebook’s updated ranking algorithm aims to improve these stats. Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of News Feed if the stories are still getting lots of Likes and comments. Early tests showed that this change resulted in an eight percent increase in the number of Likes, comments, and shares on organic stories from Pages. Additionally, the percentage of posts read went from 57 percent to 70 percent.
For brands, this means that your most popular organic Page posts have a higher chance of being shown to more people, even if they’re more than a few hours old. Advertisers, on the other hand, should note that this change doesn’t impact how paid content appears in News Feed.
It seems that many brands prioritize fans’ reach, sometimes more than engagement. If this is the case, optimizing the timing of your post is still important. Although Facebook’s new algorithm seems to breathe new life into your posts, you can still rely on other factors to help you determine when to deliver your content for maximum impact.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.