1.38 million Posts analysed - what works on Facebook

Monday, January 23, 2017

by Atiqur Rehman, Follow me    

Recently I did some research on top 1,647 Facebook pages across all niches to find out what type of posts get the most likes, shares and comments and here are the results.

How I did it?

So before I jump to the conclusion, it’s important to tell how I found the data so you know it’s not a study with made up numbers. The CSV of 1.38 million posts is also attached at the end for you to download and do any further study you wish to do.

First step was to make a list of top pages from all niches. My assistant created a list of top 1,647 pages from all niches with the help of Fan Page List

Second step was to collect data from all those pages. For this purpose I created a small windows program which used Facebook API to download Page Category, Post Message, Post Tags, Picture, Link, type, created date/updated date, number of likes, comments, shares and some other related data. As weird as it may sound but it took me almost a month to download all this data.

Third and final step was to run some queries on the data to find out the stats so here are the results.

what works on facebook

Total numbers analysed

1,647 pages, 1.38 million posts, 15.33 billion likes, 436.14 million comments, and 903.77 million shares analysed.

Post Type

Photos get the most likes, shares and comments.

  Photos Videos Link Status Event Offer Note Music
Likes 79.78%  9.91% 7.04% 3.23% 0.04% 0.005% 0.002% 0.0001%
Comments 55.63%  24.96%  11.24%  8.08%  0.06%  0.01%  0.004%  0.0005% 
Shares 56.43%  32.91%  8.88%  1.73%  0.001%  0.03%  0.0004%  0.0001% 

"Music" was the worst and only shared 1,173 times out of 9 million shares at 0.0001%

likes comments shares by post type

But here is an interesting fact.

It would be unfair to say that the photos get the most engagement if they are posted the most. So I did another analysis. I separated each post type and count the number of times that type was posted so for example out of 1.38 million posts, 0.67 million posts were photos which is around half of total posts.

I then calculated the total number of likes photos had and found out that on average each photo was liked 18,302 times, commented 362 times and shared 762 times.

I then calculated same data for each post type, and calculated the percentage of each type engagement out of total number of engagement for all posts and found out some amazing results. Here are the results:

  Photos Videos Link Status Event Offer Note Music
Likes 43.93%  17.65% 6.49% 10.84% 3.20% 13.28% 3.90% 0.70%
Comments 19.02%  27.61%  6.44%  16.86%  2.96%  20.18%  5.36%  1.56% 
Shares 17.07%  32.22%  4.50%  3.20%  0.06%  42.21%  0.39%  0.35% 

The above table tells you a completely different story. So photos still have the most likes but videos are the most commented while offers get the most shares.

facebook engagement by post type percentage

I will still give photos a heads up because offers are niche specific so if you can post offers, DO IT. They get shared the most and if you want more comments, you can start doing more videos.

Here is another insight on which niches had the most engagement with offers, photos and videos. I am not including irrelevant niches like Athlete, Actor etc below as they are not related to normal public. If you see below, offer has the most engagement in "Retail", photo in "Food" and video in "News".

Offer Retail Company Food & Beverage Company Clothing (Brand) Health/Beauty Company Restaurant/Cafe
Photo Food & Beverage Company Cars Clothing (Brand) Travel Company Product/Service Retail Company
Video Media/News Company Food & Beverage Company Cars Sports Event Travel Company Product/Service 

Post Length

There is too much similarity in this data. Over 99% posts liked, commented or shared have 75 or less words so 75 is the ideal post length.

Posts with 506 words were liked, shared or commented 0 times out of 15.33 billion likes

likes comments shares by post length

Post length in number of words

Top Words

Another query I ran was to find top most used words in all posts. Posts with high number of referential words (like “I” and “We” or “You” and “Your”) tend to get more likes, shares or comments.

Some of the interesting words from top 100 are “new”, “get”, “what”, “One”, “about”, “NOW”, “check”, “watch”, “great”, “happy”, “NOT”, “Love”, “Take”, and “Off”. You can draw your own conclusion or use these words more when posting.

26.42 million Words were used in all 1.38 million posts

Most common used words

Top 100 words used in all posts

Number of Tags

Posts with 3 or less tags are liked, shared or commented 99% more while posts with 0 tags are liked the most.

Posts with 43 tags were the worst and only shared 15 times or less out of 903.77 million shares.

likes comments shares by post tags

Number of post tags in each post

Category

A quick break down of all the niches from Facebook tells us that "Food & Beverage" is the most active with 224.54 million likes, followed by "Cars" with 128.28 million likes, and "Company" with 109.27 million likes.

An important thing to consider here is that "Company" niche is very active which means if you are a Company, you should engage with all your employees on Facebook, which is the most probable reason of such engagement.

likes comments shares by post category

Number in millions by Post Category

Now another insight I wanted to find out is the typical engagement every niche gets. For this I just need to find out the average like, share and comment per post. This will give us the industry average so you can decide if your campaigns are doing enough.

"Real Estate" is the worst niche and has the worst engagement at combined 0.02%

likes comments shares by post category per post

As you can see above that "Automotive Company" get the most likes with averaging at 7,574 likes per post followed by "Jewellery/Watches" with 5,516 likes per post and "Games/Toys" with 4,489 likes per post.

Similarly "Entrepreneur" category get the most comments with averaging at 338 comments per post followed by "Food & Beverage" with 144 comments per post and "Games/Toys" with 138 comments per post.

If you look at shares then "Entrepreneur" get the most shares with averaging at 1,455 shares per post followed by "Games/Toys" with 488 shares per post and "Entertainment Website" with 464 shares per post.

I excluded few niches like "News/Media" or "Public Figures" as they are well known and people follow them without any incentive so there is no point.

Time of Day

The best time to post is exactly at 17:00 where posts received a staggering 249.73 million likes, 15.88 million comments and 6 million shares. The posts posted between 17:00 and 18:00 had the most likes, shares or comments.

There is no worst time to post on Facebook. Every minute received a number of likes, shares or comments.

likes comments shares by time of day

Number in millions by Time Of Day

Now let’s take our top three post types (Offer, Photo, Video) and check posting times for those with the engagement.

Post Type "Offer"

Amazingly the best time to post "Offer" is between 13:00 and 15:16 where it has the most engagement. If you see the chart below, there is not much going on in the evening. The interesting times to post offer are 08:20 (may be because people have short time to check Facebook just when they start the day?), 13:45 (again lunch time), and 22:41 (just before going to sleep).

likes comments shares by time of day Offer

Post Type "Photo" & "Video"

Photo & video is exactly same as the overall time of day so best time to post photos & videos is in the evenings.

Now let’s look at some of the top categories (Retail, Food & Beverage, Cars, Clothing, Travel and Product/Service) and see the best times to get the most engagement.

Retail: Best time for retail is between 13:59 & 19:59.

Food: Best time for food is between 16:00 and 22:00.

Cars: Best time for cars is between 07:00 & 10:00 and 15:00 & 17:00 but evenings are overall better.

Clothing: Best time for clothing is between 14:00 and 18:00 although 14:00 onwards is overall much better.

Travel: Best time for travel is between 09:00 & 10:00 and 14:00 & 17:00.

Product/Service: Best time for product/service is 13:00, and between 16:00 and 20:00

Here are the charts;

likes comments shares by time of-day by categories

Best Day

If you look at overall data, the best day to post is Thursday. Midweek is overall better and weekends have less engagement.

Overall Saturday is the worst day to post.

likes comments shares by day

Number in millions by Day

Now again let’s take our top three post types (Offer, Photo, Video) and check posting days for those with the engagement and compare the results.

Post Type "Offer"

As expected the best day is still Thursday but amazingly the second best is Sunday, followed by Friday. If you look at Shares & Likes then midweek is still the best.

likes comments shares by day and category offer

Post Type "Photo" & "Video"

Photo & video is exactly same as the overall day data discussed above.

Now let’s look at some of the top categories (Retail, Food & Beverage, Cars, Clothing, Travel and Product/Service) and see the best day to get the most engagement.

Retail: Best day for retail is Thursday, followed by Tuesday & Friday. However in terms of Shares, the best day is Saturday.

Food: Best days for Food are midweek where Monday is the best for Likes and Wednesday for Shares.

Cars: Best day for cars is Thursday for Likes, and Wednesday for Shares although midweek is good mostly.

Clothing: Best day for clothing is Friday by a good margin in terms of Likes and shares.

Travel: Best day for travel is Tuesday for Likes and Shares followed by Monday.

Product/Service: Best day for product/service is Tuesday for Likes and Monday & Wednesday for Shares.

Here are the charts;

engagement by day by categories

Here is the CSV File if you wish to download and analyse data yourself and below is an infographics if you wish to share this study.

Want to share this infographics with your audience? Simply copy below code and paste it in your blog html.

What works on facebook
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Comments
  • Lee Evans 1/27/2017 6:02 PM
    excellent info, thanks for sharing!!
    • Atiq Rehman 2/1/2017 4:27 PM
      Thanks for checking it out :)
  • Postradamus 1/29/2017 6:08 PM
    Great study! Thanks for sharing these interesting social media facts.
    • Atiq Rehman 2/1/2017 4:27 PM
      Thank you so much for checking it out.
  • neha 1/31/2017 9:04 AM
    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing
    • Atiq Rehman 2/1/2017 4:28 PM
      Thanks for checking it out Neha
  • BullyandRufus 1/31/2017 6:01 PM
    Great analysis! I wonder how much of this aligns with Instagram? Are you planning to conduct a similar study for IG?
    • Atiq Rehman 2/1/2017 4:30 PM
      Thanks, I actually had plans for Twitter first to see what are the best times to post and how to get great CTR. Insta and Linkedin are in the queue as well.
  • Jaafar 2/6/2017 1:46 AM
    Awesome stuff! Thanks for the analyses. Hope you do Twitter next! 😁
    • Atiq Rehman 2/6/2017 9:39 AM
      Thanks, Twitter is next definitely.

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