1 Month Study: Impact of New Hybrid News Feed

[Updated: 11/8/11 10:00AM ET] // Added full infographic //

A month has passed since the new hybrid news feed has been implemented. We’ve analyzed the data comparing the month before and the month after the implementation, similar to our two preliminary reports (1 Week After & 2 Weeks After). Analyzing the data in a similar fashion, we found that the general trends stayed intact:

  • Impressions decreased 22%
  • Likes increased 16%
  • Comments increased 14%

This has been in line with what we’ve heard around the web from a variety of Facebook marketers. We wanted to make sure we were reporting the most accurate & in-depth analysis before we put all of our eggs into this analysis. We decided to dig deeper.

How did we analyze this data?

When analyzing the above data, we took a random sample size of 600+ Facebook Pages of varying sizes and activity. We analyzed each individual Post that the Pages created over the two time periods. The two time periods were: 8/19-9/16 vs 9/23-10/21. We selected these dates because they match up day for day (Monday vs Monday) over the month prior and month after the new hybrid news feed was implemented. We excluded the few days surrounding the change, as Facebook was reporting very strange numbers over those days.

When analyzing an individual Page, we took their average impressions per post per fan, average likes per post per fan and average comments per post per fan. All of these metrics were taken against how many fans at the time of the post to help compensate fan growth over the two time periods analyzed. We calculated each Page’s change over the month time period. We then averaged the change of all of the Pages sampled over the time period. This process applies to the graph above.

Digging Deeper: How many Pages Grew vs Shrunk?

Looking at averages of a Facebook Page’s average Post can sometimes paint a partial picture. We decided to analyze a larger sample size of Pages to see if they flat out experienced growth or shrinkage in terms of Impressions, Likes and Comments. This analysis would help determine if there were any underlying factors affecting our previous study above.

What we found was a vast majority of Pages experienced a decrease in Impressions, and it was roughly a coin flip on whether they experienced growth or shrinkage from Engagement.

  • Impressions: 18% of Pages Grew vs 82% of Pages Shrunk
  • Likes: 43% of Pages Grew vs 46% of Pages Shrunk
  • Comments: 37% of Pages Grew vs 36% of Pages Shrunk

(Left over percent remained unchanged)

How did we analyze this data?

For this particular analysis, we utilized a random sample size of 5,800+ Facebook Pages who were active during the two time periods of 8/19-9/16 & 9/23-10/21.

When analyzing an individual Page, we took their average impressions per post per fan, average likes per post per fan and average comments per post per fan. All of these metrics were taken against how many fans at the time of the post to help compensate fan growth over the two time periods analyzed. We calculated each Page’s change over the month time period. We then tallied how many Pages Grew vs Shrunk. This process applies to the graph above.

What’s the average Page experiencing?

To better understand how a truly average Page may have been impacted, we reached out to an independent 3rd party to help further analyze the data (social media consultant and writer Ron Ploof). What we found for the average Page was interesting. The average Page may actually be experiencing a decrease in Likes and Comments, along with a decrease in Impressions. This revelation is contrary to what our preliminary data initially illustrates. When looking at the average effect of all the Page’s average change, the data can be influenced in less than optimal ways. Examining the median can help increase the relevancy of our study for the average Page.

When analyzing the median of the data in regards to Impressions, Likes and Comments, we found a more dismal picture. The following was evident when analyzing the median data:

  • Impressions declined 24%
  • Likes declined 15%
  • Comments declined 20%

When looking at the median of the data, the results are obviously quite different. However, this data may more accurately paint a picture of what an actual average Page may be experiencing. We decided to again dig deeper to see if we could find why the averages show an increase in Engagement, but the median shows a decrease.

How did we analyze this data?

We took the same random sample size of 600+ Facebook Pages of varying sizes and activity. We utilized the same Posts used for each Page previously analyzed. We also analyzed the same time periods (8/19-9/16 vs 9/23-10/21).

When analyzing an individual Page, we took their average impressions per post per fan, average likes per post per fan and average comments per post per fan. All of these metrics were taken against how many fans at the time of the post to help compensate fan growth over the two time periods analyzed. We calculated each Page’s change over the month time period. We then took the median of all of Page’s changes over the time period. This process applies to the graph above.

Size of Page Matters

In order to better understand the median illustrating that the average Page may be experiencing a decrease with both Impressions and Engagement, we dug deeper into the data hoping to find more answers. What we found next was incredibly interesting. Pages that were larger, experienced an increase in engagement (comments + likes) since the implementation of the new hybrid news feed. However, Pages below 1,000 fans experienced a decrease in engagement.

What does this all mean?

As with many things in this world, it’s really hard to say. Some Pages are experiencing engagement booms (especially the Pages with 100k+ fans) while others may be experiencing sizable decreases. Some Pages are experiencing Impressions growth, while most are experiencing a decrease in Impressions.

A summary of our interpretation follows:

Most Pages experienced a decrease in Impressions,
while larger Pages tended to experience an increase in Engagement.

Where do you go from here?

As always, we recommend each Page Admin to monitor their individual Page’s changes over the past month to see how the new hybrid news feed may be impacting specifically. Regardless of the impact of the new news feed, having high EdgeRank continues to provide visibility within the news feed. Ultimately, engagement drives EdgeRank which should cement engagement as a top priority while doing Facebook Page marketing.

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