Everybody "knows" that images are the key to Facebook.
If anybody wasn't clear on that back in 2012, they were after Hubspot published a landmark study showing that images, on average, saw 53% more likes than typical Facebook posts.
But is that still true?
Are images still king, and does your image strategy still make sense?
Read on to find out.
Are Images Still Your Best Bet To Earn Engagement? (Answer: Maybe Not)
You'd think this question would have a straightforward answer, but it actually turns out that it depends who you ask.
Here's the data as reported by SocialBakers, based on an analysis of 30,000 brands:
They divide their data into 3 tiers, based on the number of fans for each Facebook page. In all 3 tiers, images win. Still, they only do significantly better than videos for the top tier.
But a study conducted by Quintly tells a very different story. Their study includes more brands (72,194 Facebook pages), but we can only guess at which of the two studies is using a more representative sample. In any case, here's the data:
As you can see, according to Quintly, the number of photos posted dramatically outpaces the number of videos (which isn't much of a surprise), but the average number of interactions with videos actually outnumbers interactions with images by a pretty wide margin.
And according to The Social Intelligence Report from Adobe Digital Index, for Q1 of 2014, videos have seen a dramatic change in engagement on Facebook:
In short, while visual content is the clear winner, videos may actually be a much better vehicle for driving engagement. Of course, the right answer almost certainly depends on your brand.
Think Images of People Will Boost Engagement? Think Again
Countless studies have shown that human beings are hard-wired for facial recognition, their eyes are drawn toward faces, they're great at reading facial expressions, and so on. It only makes sense to assume that people will be more likely to interact with Facebook images if they include images of people in them.
It makes perfect sense, but it's dead wrong.
According to an analysis of 3,656 images by Taggs, images featuring people receive less overall engagement than images without them:
Interestingly, images featuring just a body part, like a hand, did best in terms of overall engagement. Taggs hypothesizes that this is because users can project themselves into the image, and imagine that they're interacting with it, under these circumstances. Of course, this analysis takes "likes" into account, which are the least meaningful metric. The factor that weights most heavily on the Newsfeed algorithm are shares, and the most shared images actually feature no people whatsoever, not even their hands:
The distribution also looks very similar for comments, which have the strongest evidence of a tie to actual revenue.
In short, when it comes to the most important types of engagement, you want to share images of things a bit more novel and interesting than human faces, or even human hands.
Still Think Posting On Saturdays Is Best? That Data's Old News
You have probably seen this before:
But this data is out of date, and sharing behavior has changed.
The Adobe Digital Index Social Intelligence Report for Q1, 2014 reported that Friday was actually the day with the highest engagement rate. More importantly, though, the difference between days of the week was practically nonexistent overall. Keep in mind, the orange line below is the engagement rate:
The real takeaway here is to post throughout the week. The one exception is for videos, which, according to the same report, see a pretty dramatic difference in plays on Friday:
Image credit: fangleman