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Why does some content get more reach than other content?

Published: January 23, 2014

Author: Chad Wittman

We often get asked, Why does a Status Update have more Reach than a Photo? Why do any of the different content types perform differently at all? There are two main components at play: people’s past behavior and how Facebook views each content type. We’ll break down a few of the reasons behind the differences.

People’s Past Behavior

People have preferences. Facebook keeps track of these preferences and tries to deliver more photos to photo lovers and more links to news junkies. Facebook’s ultimate goal is to get each individual user as happy with their experience as possible. For some brands, this connection just makes sense. A photographer is going to have much more exciting photos than status updates (or at least you would hope so!). Facebook will show more of what works (drives engagement) to your fans.

Size of Object

Size doesn’t always matter, but when it comes to pixels in the News Feed, there seems to be a bit of competition. There is only so much room in the News Feed, and things like photos and videos take up quite a bit of vertical space. Things like status updates tend to be much shorter and therefore more likely to jump into the News Feed. Essentially, the larger the object the less likely it is going to be in the News Feed.

Increased Link Competition

When Facebook announced (Dec 2nd) they were going to show links more often in the News Feed, what they didn’t say was that they were also going to raise the bar. Some smaller blogs that posted mostly their own original content got their Organic Reach cut off by nearly 90%. Some of the larger blogs weren’t nearly as impacted by this change. The reality is that Facebook has raised the quality bar for News Feed links. The big companies with the highly anticipated exclusives are reaping most of these benefits.

Facebook’s Preferences

Photos tend to drive the most engagement. People seem to love photos. It seems to be a fundamental basis for human behavior. Facebook tends to show photos more often because of this. This gives them the best shot at driving an engaging experience for a user. As of late, Facebook also prefers links in the News Feed. At one time, “Questions” reigned supreme because Facebook wanted to push their latest and greatest feature. These preferences can slowly or abruptly change over time.

What Can A Marketer Do About It?

Think like Facebook. They want each visit to their platform to be as exciting as possible. How can you purpose your message in a way that excites people while browsing Facebook? A photo of a special moment or a link to a timely event makes the News Feed much more exciting for the average user.
Don’t always get wrapped up in what other users are experiencing in the News Feed for their Pages. It’s important to understand your audience and your fans so that you’re driving success for your goals. Keeping this in mind will lead marketers to a strong foundation on Facebook and beyond.

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