News Feed section on Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) forms the interactive channel users connect with the most. Facebook displays updates from brands, Friends, Events and Groups on the News Feed. However, most of the users perceive News Feed crowded with ads all the time, thanks to the exploded onboarding of internet users and brands on Facebook. Surprisingly, a study from SocialBakers, a social media analytics firm, highlights that ads constitute only the 3% of the total posts on News Feed. Among all the News Feed posts, organic posts – updates that are meant for general information – comprise the major part of around 90 –91%, while promoted posts are meager 9-10%. But that’s not all; the report highlights many insightful aspects of Facebook Posts, that help marketers, advertisers and brands to draw targeted Facebook marketing strategies. Let’s dig deep into the report and understand how can we derive some of the best marketing strategies for Facebook leveraging on these findings.
The data-driven study, conducted on 1,000 users, reveals nearly three-fourth (71 -76%) of the News Feed is filled with posts coming from friends and those we follow. Nearly 24% – 29% posts on News Feed is sourced from business pages. Promoted Posts and Ads account for just 10% of the total posts coming from Pages. These are the clear indicators of how Facebook Edge ranking is screening, filtering and serving the information to users. Both marketers and users now know how they are valued on the world’s top social media network, but what it means for Facebook is an equally interesting aspect.
In 2014, 92% of the Facebook revenue came from advertisement, and the scenario is not so different in 2015. Therefore, if we connect two dots, it becomes clear that 3% of total News Feed posts are accounting for 92% of Facebook’s revenue. However, what the marketers and users are witnessing is just the tip of the iceberg. Ad revenue has seen the maximum growth year-over-year compared to other sources of income. Endorsing the fact, the Q2 2015 report of Facebook revealed the ad revenue increased by 43% over last year. Off late, Facebook has come heavily on business pages by abating their organic reach, leaving them with no other options but to invest marketing dollars on Page Promotion and Boost Post. Besides, Facebook has started creating new zones to segregate its traffic, eventually resulting in new zones for advertisers; Recently announced separate video section is one such example. With just 3%, Facebook still has a big window fo opportunity to create new zones for ads and multiple the growth rate of revenue coming from ads.
Content Category And Post Ranking Impact Engagement
The study also covers the engagement aspect to understand how users interact with Facebook. News Feed Posts related to Media receives high engagement in terms of Likes, Comments, and Shares. Until 2013, Brands Posts acknowledged higher engagement among all the categories. However, with the advent of online publication and Facebook’s own initiative to boost journalism content Media has won the time of the users and surpassed the Brands with 3 times more interactions.
The order of posts on the News Feed also can give a knowhow on the promoted posts. If the second post on the News Feed is a Page Post then, the study claims, it is 46% likely to be a promoted one. Facebook has enhanced its focus on the users consuming more video content in the recent days. While, its is yet to be analyzed that how many posts out of this 46% are video posts, Facebook is treating video content coming from brands uniformly throughout.
Nearly half of the News Feed sessions (49%) end with users viewing only four posts. This indicates that half of the time Facebook users moves away from News Feed ignoring information visible at below the fold. Marketers and brands must take a cue from this and publish the information aligned with targeted users’ interestest and habits to claim the top position. Only 15% of sessions persists over 20 posts.
This is similar to Google’s Search algorithm that ranks web links. Until a few years ago Google’s first five pages were considered to be the best place to rank a website. In the last twelve months, however, the scenario has changed and a famous meme is floating around the internet “The best place to hide a dead body is Google’s second page.” Apparently, this applied to Facebook’s 20-posts finding as well.
An average News Feed session lasts over 12 posts while the median session ends with only five posts.
Facebook is cautious about the user’s time spent on the News Feed. It always feed the users with the relevant feed to keep them engaged and the posts making up News Feed is filtered employing to its complicated algorithm.
What Does It Mean for Marketers?
For marketers, Facebook means the emerging platform to showcase their services and products to 1.49 billion monthly active users. Currently, one-third of the page posts on the News Feed are the advertisements, and it is the major source of revenue for Facebook. Marketers foresee wide horizon via Facebook to reach out bulk prospective customers. However, owing to most of the above findings, they must be more targeted and focused with their updates to generate convincing returns for their clients.
Apart from generating revenue, advertisements also are the cause of concern for Facebook. Ads adversely affect users’ engagement, in turn, reducing the user time spent on Facebook. Maintaining uniformity with the ad posts are challenging as it differs on various aspects like size, frequency, and display patterns.
Facebook being aware of obstacles is apparently trying to strike out a balance between revenue generation and seamless user engagement.