Content that does a good job on Facebook ‘ do we really need every piece of research?

Last month a study conducted for Germany, Austria and Switzerland caught my eye that I thought was interesting. It says that it deals with the revealing of one of the most kept secrets in social media marketing ‘content that does a good job on Facebook’.

I was very excited and after more than 15 years of experience in market research and marketing I cannot stop hoping that on-demand free reports include real insights. As you might have already foreseen, I was disappointed about  the depth of results (and I consciously avoid the term ‘insights’ here).

Nothing to worry about too much, I said to myself.  However, the feelings of disappointment has not disappeared and I found myself thinking about why this is the case. And then I took another look at the study.

100 Facebook fan pages from retail and consumer brands with overall 2.334 Facebook postings were analyzed over a time period of 4 weeks (don’t ask me, how they selected the fan pages…).  The average number of Facebook Fans per page was 112.000 and the average number of posting within the four weeks was 23,24 per page. So far, so good…

The authors introduce the study’s main metric: ‘viral spread of postings’ (calculated as the sum of likes, shares and comments divided by the number of fans). Following their hypotheses the content with a higher ‘viral spread’ is better than content with lower ‘viral spread’.  So they began to compare different criteria of Facebook fan page postings in regards to ‘viral spread’.

 Please allow to do some cherry picking

  1. 1) Companies that post less often achieve significantly higher levels of viral spread
  2. 2) The best values of viral spread are obtained in the morning and after work
  3. 3) On Sundays, the highest values for viral spread are obtained
  4. 4) Postings of more than 3 lines achieve lower values of viral spread
  5. 5) Using images leads to a significantly increase of approximately 69% higher value for viral spread, but postings with videos achieve significantly lower values for viral spread
  6. 6) The direct address of the user by asking questions does not lead to significantly higher value of viral spread. Similar to that direct calls to action only lead to a less than 10% higher value of viral spread which is statistically not significant
  7. 7) Emotionality causes a significantly higher value of viral spread

What I understand is that in order to be shared, content on Facebook must be:

  • -    Interesting
  • -    Not annoying
  • -    Emotional
  • -    Entertaining
  • -    Not taking too much time to consume
  • -    Displayed at the right moment

To be honest, this is well known and true for every advertising and every message, since years’ So why should it be different for social media content? Or for market research reports and presentations?

Beside the fact that it is always good to confirm common knowledge from time to time, reading through this study has another positive effect.

If it is true that simplicity of massages increase the likeability to share this message by 92%,
that concreteness and being on spot increases likeability by 56%,
that emotionality increases likeability to share by 64%…
What does this mean for our reporting in market research? A lot of space to improve…

Maybe that’s the most important “insight” from this study.

Make sure that you join us at the The Market Research Event 2012, hosted by IIRUSA November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton, FL. For more about this year’s program download the agenda.

Today’s guest post is from Christian D??ssel (@olympiamilano). Christian is Senior Research Director at MM-Eye, a market research and research consulting firm in Hamburg / Germany. He has worked for TNS, TBWA and other advertising, strategy and market research agencies helping clients from industries such as finance, transport and logistics, telecommunication and entertainment to understand consumers through market research and to increase implementation excellence. He will be live blogging from The Market Research Event 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida. If you’d like to join him, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!