What is More Important: Affinity or Frequency?

An excellent question was asked on Quora recently: What is the role of history vs. frequency in Facebook EdgeRank success? The question is driving at what has a larger impact, Affinity or Frequency? Simply put, does my affinity with a Facebook Fan have a deeper impact compared to how frequently I publish content?

Answer : It depends on your audience.

As much as we dislike the ambiguity of this response, it really is true. Let’s take a look at why this is the case. First we’ll look at raw data, and then we’ll look at why this theoretically makes sense.

We looked at the Best Post Frequency median for over 10,000 Pages. The median, in this case, is more statistically relevant and more applicable to a “typical” brand than the average Best Post Frequency.

The frequency which resulted in the highest average engagement:

  • Best Post Frequency Median: 1
  • Best Post Frequency Average: 2.4

At first, this seems to illustrate that the quick answer to the original question is Affinity. Post your best content, once per day, at the most optimal time of day. However, not all fan bases are created equal.

Hypothetical Audiences

  • Group A: Fans of a wide demographic that check Facebook on average once per 2 hours, throughout the day
  • Group B: Fans of a similar demographic that check Facebook once per day, typically sometime after work

Group A

This brand most likely caters to a wide set of lifestyles/interests/careers. The brand is more likely to be a large, and widely consumed, product or service. Their audience is more connected than Group B, which creates multiple opportunities to connect with said audience throughout the day. Group A’s news feeds are more likely to have a stronger chronological order than Group B’s.

For this audience, identifying key points throughout the day could serve to be extremely advantageous, as the brand will have multiple opportunities to Reach their audience. With an audience that is consuming Facebook more frequently, this will give the brand more opportunities throughout the day to post. If this is the case, posting at multiple times of the day could serve as the optimal strategy. For Group A, Frequency would be more important to success than Affinity (should be noted, Affinity is always important—in this discussion it’s more of a measure of relativity).

Group B

This brand is more a niche brand, with specialized users who require a specific lifestyle/interest/career. This audience most likely is much smaller than Group A and seem to behave in similar patterns.

For this audience, publishing the single best piece of content available at the optimal time should result in maximum results. The audience does not check Facebook often, which means their feeds should be more influenced by EdgeRank than the news feeds of Group A. If their feeds are more heavily influenced by EdgeRank, then the Affinity variable is more important to success than Frequency.

Conclusion

It is exceedingly important to understand your audience, and how they consume the news feed. This will give you a strong understanding of how to structure your posting frequency. Analyzing past strategies, along with examining optimal times throughout the day, will give key insights into how to best strategize your brand.

It is always important to build Affinity with your audience (engagement is ultimately the key success indicator). However, depending on your audience, timing can sometimes make up a large segment of future success. The key is (and always will be) to publish the best content at the best time(s) of day. For some brands, that will be once per day, for others it may be more.

5 Comments on “What is More Important: Affinity or Frequency?

  1. JB

    Great post. We’ve had improved results when, about a month or so ago, we started posting only one or two times a day. But I’ve noticed in just the past couple of days that we’ve had some great engagement but unusually low reach. Have you heard if Facebook has made another major adjustment to EdgeRank? We had a post shared more than 50 times, yet Facebook is telling me it only reached 20 people virally. That just doesn’t seem right.

  2. Mark

    Hi Guys,

    I’d like to reiterate JB’s question and ask that you answer it. I too have had large numbers of shares (and likes and comments) of a story with little virality and vice versa. Is there any rhyme or reason to this? I’m new to edgerank checking but I’ve been watching this informally over time and have quite an analytical mind and my post performance, particularly reach, appears to be all over the map, despite posting fairly similar content and getting fairly similar engagement (Like, Comment, Share) results.

    • JB

      Thanks, Mark. I know negative feedback now plays a greater role in EdgeRank, but it doesn’t seem to account for our questions here. Chad, any ideas?

  3. Fred

    Great post, but I’m a little confused. Edgerankchecker is recommending that I up my posts to 16x per day. Is that a glitch? or is it possible my audience is so plugged in and needing input that this is a great strategy for them?

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