What is the typical Virality rate for a Facebook Page’s Posts?

One of the strengths of marketing on Facebook is the opportunity of Virality. Exciting and unique content can begin to “go viral” which can result in massive exposure. For brands that are able to leverage this effectively, it can mean huge ROIs on projects.

What is Virality rate?

Facebook defines Virality as: “The percentage of people who have created a story from your Page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it”. Creating stories can be from Likes, Comments, and Shares of content. Essentially, the more people engage with your content in relation to how many unique people have seen it determines a particular post’s Virality.

What is the average Virality rate?

To accurately understand how a typical Page receives Virality, we looked at the median Virality rate. The median Virality rate for Facebook Pages is 1.92%. Below is a breakdown:

Very few Pages leverage incredible Virality rates, however the ones that do are experiencing tremendous success in terms of exposure.

How did we analyze this?

We received a great question from Quora and decided to answer it with real data. We analyzed over 10,000 Pages during the time frame of 2/3/12 – 3/3/12 with over 375,000 individual posts. Page Size and Post Frequency varied from Page to Page.

58 Comments on “What is the typical Virality rate for a Facebook Page’s Posts?

  1. “Average” and “median” are not the same thing. Is 1.9% the average or the median virality?

    • Chad Wittman

      We know. The question came in on Quora asking for the average, but we feel that the median is more accurate. The average was technically 2.97%, but that is an average of an average.

  2. TJ

    Thanks for the great information.
    One quick recommendation though… Please change the color of your max or min on the pie chart; both being blue causes some confusion when interpreting this graph.

    • Chad Wittman

      Good point, will try that in the future!

  3. MIke

    What was the page likes range of the 10k pages? Can you break down virality by like blocks i.e 0-10k 11-50k 51-150k etc. ?

    • Chad Wittman

      Good question, I updated the bottom of the post with a pie chart of the breakdown.

  4. Can you dive a little deeper and show what the very viral pages are doing? What kind of status updates are they? Photos/text/video? Do the very viral pages create new content or repost existing content? Are they relatively large pages? Just curious to see how the best are doing so well.

    • Chad Wittman

      As we were studying this, I thought the same thing. I think a follow up blog post is in order.

      • Brian Zarbock

        Loved this post. I wanted to stay in the loop about what more viral pages were doing as well. Is there a way to subsribe via email?

        • Chad Wittman

          We have a newsletter signup on the bottom of the page.

          • Off topic: Just checked and used your Newsletter-Signup and got a white page with “{“success”:true}” as result … but no mail to (double)opt-in etc.?!

          • Chad Wittman

            I’ll manually add you to our newsletter list.

  5. Interesting stat! Since you have access to such a large data set, any chance you could shed some insight on the following question as well?

    On average, what are the 3 (or 5) most common sources of “likes”? By sources I mean like buttons/boxes on websites, the like button on the page itself, Facebook ads, etc. I imagine it’d be a pretty actionable statistic to know.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Chad Wittman

      Interesting question. Will consider that for a study in the future.

  6. Krishna

    Good start Chad. Thanks. We are just scratching the surface of understanding this stat. It’d be good to extend this analysis to determine the impact on virality due to page size, edge type (video, photo, status etc), real-timeliness of the edge.

  7. Eric Fader

    Can you provide an analysis by post type? (status, photo, video etc)

    Also it would be great if you shared a brand redacted excel version of the entire data set that would enable further analysis.

    • Chad Wittman

      Sounds like a good followup study.

      • Michael

        Yes, in particular a differentiation by content types would be very interesting. So far there are very few empirical grounded findings concering this.

  8. This is very interesting. I’ve been studying this for a few days now and using EdgeRankChecker to find ways to improve and finally see an improvement! :0)

  9. 1.92% is not exactly a firestorm. The best option with emerging marketing media is the slow and careful embrace…

  10. I’m wondering if it’s possible to see the virality pie chart for each of the three ‘sizes’ of pages. I’m curious if virality goes down as the number of followers goes up.

    • Chad Wittman

      Good question, I’ll dive into it hopefully in the near future. We got a bunch of great questions regarding this topic.

  11. Dianne

    OK, FB’s virality of 1.92% doesn’t mean much to me because I don’t have any context for it. 1.92% as compared to??? I know that FB has some virality but because it is what I consider a closed loop, the virality potential seemed limited to me. Privacy, etc… It’s not like YouTube or Twitter or, now that it’s #3 in Social Media, Pinterest where you can post something to the world at large and have it take off.
    I feel like this data is incomplete. Just a thought…

    • Chad Wittman

      The context of the 1.92% virality rate is as Facebook defines: “The percentage of people who have created a story from your Page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it”. It is ultimately a measurement of how ‘enticing’ a piece of content is. This isn’t looking at Viral Lift, or the traditional sense of virality throughout the web. This is focused merely on Facebook’s understanding of virality.

      • Carrie

        It’s actually not about virality, the name of the indicator is confusing. The virality rate actually addresses the Interaction users have with the page. Strictly virality is about getting a contact from another, and the virality indicator is the reach (from paid to viral going through organic).
        Before we had “ER” (Engagement rate) to do that, and now…
        Does anyone use another indicator than this ‘virality rate’ for assessing Interaction?

      • Emily

        Yes, however if the number of people who have seen the post is relatively small then the virality rate may seem artificially high, impressive but ultimately somewhat meaningless. Nonetheless, it does capture, within a certain period of time, how many people felt compelled to respond to a given post as a percentage of how many have seen it. Virality might been seen as a measure of relevance within a specific pool of viewers. The less specific or engaged the pool of viewers the harder it might be to get high virality rates.

  12. Dian Davis

    Can you explain why some of our virality statistics in Facebook Insights are highlighted in blue and some are placed next to the shaded text area of the column as if to differentiate these statistics from the norm in some way?

    • Chad Wittman

      We actually don’t spend a lot of time within Facebook’s version of Insights (we utilize the API mostly).

  13. Just THANK YOU! This is awesome info and a wonderful share.

  14. Celina

    Great info to know. Were the Facebook pages from a particular country or a cross section of all countries? I’d love to know if it could be broken down and made relevant by country/state/city. Fascinating stuff.

    • Chad Wittman

      This was simply a random sampling across the board. This could definitely vary per country, depending on local user behavior. Maybe we’ll study in this in the future.

  15. Christian Erwig-Straughan

    I’m a bit confused about these numbers. They seem overly optimistic.

    The average FB post by pages is seen by about 16-17% of fans. If 1.93% of 17% actually engaged with each post, that would mean that on average 0.33% of total fans engaged with any given post. Or roughly divide the total number of fans by 300 and get the number of comments/likes that each post should get if these numbers were accurate.

    I’m going by rough estimates of course since I don’t have access to the raw data. I’m just trying to do a sanity check…

    So a fan page with 100,000 fans should see about 330 comments/likes on average for their posts. I have looked at many, many fan pages, but I have yet to find one that achieves those numbers on average.

    All the best,

    Christian

    • Chad Wittman

      I would warn against mashing up two different data studies that looked at two different samples. The other assumption you are making is that large Pages and small Pages have the same average engagement ratios. Typically, smaller Pages have much better engagement ratios than their larger competitors. I believe this is why your assumptive math is throwing you off a bit.

      I appreciate the question, I will acknowledge that we need to look at how the size of the Page is impacting virality rates.

  16. Johnny B

    I’m a laymen and not an “e” kinda guy but created a page that gets median 6% with 8000 suscribers in 3 months. I thought I sucked!!! Guess not hu? Anybody hiring? LOL….

  17. Cherian

    Hey,
    very nice to get an idea where you are standing at with a page!
    But how did you get the data of over 10.000 pages?
    greetz,
    Cherian

    • Chad Wittman

      Our data is an anonymous aggregate of our users data.

  18. Jeff

    Thanks for this information! I realize anything over 20% is awesome, but do you have a % if a post has a virality rate over 40? I posted something on a client’s page on Sunday and we had a virality rate of 45.69% (the page has a fanbase of 37,300 fans).

    The best I had done before for this client was 8% virality.

    • Chad Wittman

      Don’t have an exact number for you, but that’s definitely a great post!

  19. andrew

    Looking at the comments your article has really lost its validity. You don’t know any of the questions asked by the commenters and its kind of annoying because I am sure most people still don’t understand what virality means. I suggest you should do more study and know what you are talking about before posting an article like this again…

    • Chad Wittman

      I think the foundation of your contention is more with Facebook’s definition of Virality, rather than the validity of our study.

  20. rajesh kumar

    Hai sir its clearly tells about the virality of the page and how the customer engagement to the page the level of virality is depends on the individuals views and by sharing likes and comments also leads to some extent of virality of the specified post of the page.

  21. I started my fb page this week and within a 48 hour period had over 1500 likes. I’m thrilled! Thanks for the information. Tracking my virality is addicting!

  22. I get an error code when attempting to subscribe. Please add me manually. Thanks.

    • Chad Wittman

      Will do!

  23. Max

    Hey Chad, great stats!
    I’m wondering, with the dataset that you’ve got can you measure virality not as FB understands it but in a more meaningful way.
    What you are showing here is “conversion to action” and has some indirect link to virality.
    I suggest this definition of virality: how many new active users are engaged by a single action taken by one active user in a single viral loop. In more simple words, when a visitor is engaged, meaning that she takes an action on a page/post (like, share, comment) her action is seen by her friends, some of them go to see the page/post and few of them converge to take an action, therefore becoming new active users. The point here is knowing how many active friends will an action bring on average.
    This data is difficult to fetch, i can only do it on my own measurements. What i’ve seen is heaving a viral rate (in my definition) of 1 is fantastic, this means that every single action (like, share or comment) brings alone one more action on average, meaning that number of actions grows exponentially by a factor of (1+X) per viral cycle, X being viral rate, viral cycle is usually about 4-7 days.
    Of cause this exponential effect diminishes over time for a single post, but continues for a page.

    • Chad Wittman

      Thanks for your input Max! We’ll send you a email and we’ll talk more details there.

  24. Hey Chad,

    I think this is a great blog. Businesses are constantly trying to get their message in front of their fans and their fan’s friends as much as possible. Virality is a measurement that each business should use as how effective their social media strategy is performing.

    Thanks for the great info including the Virality Rate Breakdown. Great metric for well performing businesses.

  25. Mike

    Nice article. I’m just a little confused about one thing… I recently became in charge of my school’s marketing club facebook page. Just made a status and the virality is 14.3%, a little higher than normal. Regardless, I don’t understand how this small page has a much higher virality percentage than others.
    Any ideas as to why this may be?

    Thanks.

    • Chad Wittman

      Part of your confusion most likely resides within Facebook’s definition of Virality. From Facebook’s perspective, they are essentially measuring how “sticky” the content was for the people who saw it. This is a good indicator that when your Fans see your content, they are highly likely to engage with it. It also implies that even though your Fan base is small, the quality of these Fans are high.

  26. Great info. I knew we were achieving good results but didn’t understand how they compared to the “average”. Now I have better context for what our results are.

  27. sharad

    So does that mean I should cork open the bottle of wine since one of my posts gave me a virality of 34.5? :)

    Also Chad, some insights into the consistency of these percentages would be very welcome. Have you done a study into how many pages were successfully able to +/- their virality element YOY?

    I think this would be a great subject for another research , especially when it is the end of the year.

    • Chad Wittman

      Well that definitely is a great Virality score for that post!

      As for your year over year suggestion, I think that would be excellent. The only issue is that Facebook metrics tend to fluctuate rather dramatically as Facebook is making changes weekly.

  28. Jason

    Nice post.
    I would like to ask how do you get the figures of virality for 10K pages. Is it something the API provides? Or is it via your clients?
    Thank you.

    • Chad Wittman

      This is gathered from anonymous and aggregate data that we’ve collected.

  29. Aruna Handique

    Hi Chad,
    The 375,000 individual posts that you took into consideration for this study, were ads running for any posts?
    If not, could you tell me how high can median virality be in case sponsored ads are being run?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Chad Wittman

      These posts excluded paid. In almost all of our studies we exclude paid media.

      I’m sorry but I don’t have the data on your question, but I think it’s going to be correlated to your ad spend on the post.

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