It’s been nearly 60 days since the launch of the new Corporate Facebook Timeline.

Around this time, Facebook began revealing more information about its News Feed algorithm, EdgeRank, and began providing more analytical data to brands’ Community Managers (through Facebook Insights). Such newer data includes Reach, Engagement, Talking About This, Negative Feedback, etc.

Last week, I decided to begin digging deeper into the numbers to be able to provide insight into what will make us all better Social Media Managers.

Here’s what I did and what I discovered.

I looked at 10 random tbk Creative clients who all have a Corporate Facebook Page. When I say random, it is partially so. To be specific I took the first 10 that came to the top of my head. This happened to represent the following:

  • Fans – 31,854 fans across the 10 pages.
  • Posts – Exactly 100 posts reviewed (10 posts per page).
  • Date – The 100 posts were the last 10 posts by each brand pre May 17, 2012.
  • Location – 8 brands are based in Ontario; 1 brand in Alberta; 1 brand in Texas.
  • Type – 2 brands are not-for-profit; The balance is for-profit.
  • Industries – Wide range of industries from legal to financial to hospitality to charity to retail.
  • Size – Companies ranged relatively wide in revenue size from a few of less than $1,000,000 and several >$20,000,000.
  • Frequency – No brands posted more than 2 times per day during the date range reviewed.

Here’s the key data findings:

Avg. post reached 47.9% of Facebook users (Reach divided by Fans).

There are 4 main types of posts: Text post, Link post, Album/Picture post, Video post (either Facebook or YouTube link). Here are the rankings for Reach:

i) Text posts at 48.4%,

ii) Link posts at 51.9%,

iii) Album/Picture posts at 62.8%,

iv) Video posts at 44.9%.

Out of the 10 brands (and 100 posts), the Album/Picture post was the top post in terms of Reach on 7 of the 10 pages.

The highest Reached post noted was 226.1% (that brands average Reach was 95.9%).

The lowest Reached post noted was 8.2% (that brands average Reach was 13.4%).

There is a new option that lets Facebook users hide posts from their News Feed. Brands can now track the number of users who do this through a new Facebook Insight called “negative feedback” (found under Facebook Insights -> Overview -> Engaged Users). The average brand had 0.37% of users hide their posts (1 in about 270 users) with each post.

The metric, Engaged Users, is the number of users that click on a brand’s post. Of those users the brands reached, the average post had 8.2% engaged (the top brand achieved 22.8% Engaged Users).

The metric, Talking About This, is the number of users who comment, share, or like a brand’s post. Of those users the brands reached, the average post had 1.0% Talking About This (the top brand achieved 2.1% Talking About This).

Here’s what to make of the numbers:

1. On Feb. 29, 2012, at the fMC conference in New York City, Facebook announced that on average brand pages are reaching 16% of their fans. Based on the findings above, this doesn’t seem to be accurate or implemented yet. After reviewing 100 posts across 10 brand pages, representing 31,854 fans, the average Reach was 47.9%. I will point out the one minute flaw with the Reach metric that bears mentioning but has a very small chance of denouncing this point. According to Facebook Insights, Reach measures Facebook “users” and therefore, we must make the assumption this can include fans and non-fans (because when fans comment on a post, it can commonly reach their friends’ News Feed – which gets represented in the new Virality metric). So although, Facebook announced 16% fan Reach, and we’re observing 47.9% user Reach, I’m still going to assume Facebook pages are reaching dramatically higher fans than previously reported by the company at fMC on Feb. 29.

2. There is clearly an incentive Facebook.com is providing to posts that are Album/Picture based (62.9% Reach – which is 22% higher than the second most Reached post – Link posts). As Social Media Managers, if we want to reach more people with our posts, posting Pictures is undoubtedly the way to go.

3. The sample size was too low to add firm credence to this point (only 3 posts of the 100 applied), but it’s important to note the lowest observed type of post for Reach was Video posts at 44.9%. If this result is similar across a larger sample, I think we should acknowledge this fact but not be too fast to cancel our video marketing campaigns and look at the bigger picture of our efforts. Video can have other vertical benefits that photo or text can’t achieve. It’s just that if you’re striving for elevating your Facebook Reach, video may not be the best type of post to publish.

I invite you to use this data as a bar to measure your own results against. If you want to test your own numbers, here’s what you can do: Take one post (I’d let it be at least 4 days old to give it time to mature) and you can measure everything that I measured in this article by looking at the posts’ a) Reach, b) Engaged Users, c) Talking About This, d) Negative Feedback. Keep in mind that when I calculated the % for b, c & d, I divided the respective numbers into its Reach, not fans. I did this because if you are producing high quality content that is gaining high Engagement/Talking About This scores, your percentages will come back low if your Reach happens to be low.

If you go by Reach, you can compare apples to apples. With this algorithm you can answer questions like, “What % of my posts that reach Facebook users get interacted with, liked, clicked on, etc.? What types of posts attain highest Reach, Engagement, lowest negative feedback, etc.”

I hope you find this data and exercise useful. Feel free to ask any questions below.

Andrew Schiestel is a Sr. Partner & Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a national award winning, London Ontario based web design & social media marketing agency. The company instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands, digitally.