Long gone are the days when brand pages had easy time reaching their fans with photos. In a major reversal it has been revealed in the new data from social media analytics company Socialbakers that photo posts are now the worst performing of all posts by Facebook brand pages. Photo posts are half as likely to be seen as videos, which is now the new king of engagement on the Facebook platform.
Looking at more than 670,000 posts by 4445 brand pages (not including celebrity, entertainment and media pages) dated between October 2014 and February 2015, Socialbakers found that video posts had organic reach of 8.71%. Text only statuses reach was 5.77%, link posts 5.29% and photo posts weighed way down with only 3.73% reach.
Facebook has been making a huge video push since last June. In November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that in 5 years, most Facebook content would be video and last month he announced that videos were getting more than 3 billion views a day on the platform. Meanwhile photos are being left behind. As recently as last April, Socialbakers had reported that 75% of all content brands posted by 30,000 brands included a photo. At one time, photo posts were driving major engagement- 87% of interactions on the top 10% of the brand posts Socialbreakers studied then came of photo posts.
That led many page administrators on Facebook to turn to photos as a kind of link bait, using them to drive reach and including links in captions. This was done in the hope to get clicks back to sites. But in August, Facebook announced that it would crack down on that practice, favoring posts using Facebook’s native link format over the photos with links in captions workaround.
According to Socialbakers, despite the major fall in reach for photo posts, they still represent a majority of posts by brands. All this is a by-product of social media marketers trying to figure out the best way to squeeze more organic reach out of a diminishing platform. More competition in the News Feed — from people, businesses and brands — has steadily reduced the likelihood of any post reaching its target.
Socialbakers data also points out that brands are promoting more posts, goosing reach with advertising dollars. In 2013, 9% of page posts were promoted; in the fourth quarter of 2014, that total nearly doubled to 17%. They are paying to promote photo posts at the same 17% rate, while 27% of videos are promoted.
Here’s Socialbakers’ breakdown of post-based organic reach looked in the fourth quarter of 2014:
The results were lower for Pages with more than 100,000 likes:
Should Marketers give up on Facebook photos then? The recent downfall of the reach of photo posts poses this question in the minds of marketers. However, it is not wise to take off the photo posts as compelling images still do well on social network, so marketers should not pull and cut this thread off. But it’s clear that the days of posting images to game Facebook’s algorithm are over. And really, that’s a good general takeaway for any social media strategy; tricking the algorithm is never going to be a viable long-term tactic.Photo Posts On Facebook Brand Pages Now Have Lowest Organic Reach Says Study!,