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17th January 2017 Rebecca Moore

You don’t have to pay Facebook #DMA

Giant Picnic 2010

Hannah Fiddy shares her involvement as a Digital Marketing Academy (DMA) Fellow.

My second experiment was as part of a different organisation: London Flashmob. Part of my marketing is through the Facebook page, which brings together a community of people who are interested in finding out about flashmobs happening in London. I have never paid to advertise, so due to changes in Facebook algorithms over the past couple of years, posts are being seen by increasingly fewer people, despite the size of the page growing. Therefore I wanted to find out how to get Facebook to show my posts to more people without paying, which would hopefully also increase engagement.

Hypothesis: Facebook favours content uploaded to its site over links to external content, even if the content is identical.

To test this, I ran a Throwback Thursday campaign over a six-week period, posting one status a week, each at 8:30am on a Thursday. Three of those were videos of past flashmobs uploaded directly to Facebook. The other three were hyperlinks to videos on YouTube.

As you can see from the graph below, posts including a video directly uploaded to Facebook reached over double the number of people as links.

In this instance, there didn’t seem to be a link between the number of people viewing the content and the amount of engagement. My most successful post was status number 5, which reached very few people. The reason it was most successful was because unlike in the other statuses, I asked people to like it if they wanted me to organise another event of the same type. Asking for engagement worked, with more likes and comments with positive feedback. It’s interesting to note that despite having a lot of engagement, Facebook still didn’t choose to show the content to more people, perhaps because it contained a link to an external site.

Due to the shortness of this blog post, this is a very simple overview of the experiment and there are many more variables that could be tested. There could have been other factors affecting the Facebook view numbers (e.g. the amount I was posting outside of the Throwback Thursday campaign), but my tips from carrying out this experiment are:

  • To get more views on a post on Facebook, upload the content directly to Facebook rather than directing people away from the site. This not only includes videos but also pictures, events, etc.
  • Don’t be scared to ask for engagement – it can be very successful!

    Header Image courtesy of People United © Zoe Maxwell

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