Is Facebook Photos Engagement Overrated?

Facebook Status Update Photo Video

I went back and read an old post on today called Get The Picture In Facebook Posts To Boost Engagement that provides some interesting stats on engagement levels by content type.

AllFacebook cited two different studies. First was from digital marketing agency Web Liquid:

  • photos drew an engagement rate of .37 percent, compared with
  • .31 percent for videos;
  • .27 percent for text only, and
  • .15 percent for links.

The other study was performed by Momentus Media:

  • .21 percent for photos;
  • .11 percent for videos, and
  • .07 percent for links.

In each case, Facebook photos engagement was higher than that of other content.

These studies are a bit outdated now, especially since Timeline better highlights photos. But this is still consistent with much of what we hear.

The data interested me, and I decided I’d see if either study was consistent with my results.

For comparison, I’ll use all posts made to Jon Loomer Digital during 2012:

  • 13 Photos
  • 20 Videos
  • 64 Links
  • 36 Status Updates

I saw much higher engagement rates than what was cited in the studies, but I assume that’s because they focused on large brands with lower overall engagement. Here is what I found on my Page:

  • 7.6 percent for Photos
  • 2.9 percent for Videos
  • 3.0 percent for Links, and
  • 3.5 percent for Status Updates

[I found engagement by taking (Engaged Users/Total Reach).]

I wanted to check something else, though. All Facebook Pages publicly display the metrics for “Talking About This.” Let’s look at how content type impacts this metric:

  • 1.8 percent for Photos
  • 0.8 percent for Videos
  • 0.9 percent for Links, and
  • 2.0 percent for Status Updates

Facebook defines “Engaged User” as a person who clicked anywhere in your post. Clicking is nice. But I want more.

Facebook says a user is “Talking About This” when they create a story about your content (by liking, commenting, etc.) with their friends. And isn’t that what we really want?

Are we chasing the wrong metric? All we hear about is what you need to do to get more “Engaged” users. Do we know what that means?

Is Engagement — taken literally — overrated? An Engaged user may click something, but a user who is Talking About your post is creating a story about your content that is being shared with their friends.

We always hear about how effective it is to share photos and videos, but no one mentions Status Updates. I’ve shared more Status Updates on my Page than photos or videos, and that volume has not prevented these simple text posts from outperforming multimedia.

And all of this is while photos significantly outperform other forms of content on my Page when it comes to engagement.

A couple of points need to be made:

1) While 133 posts for one page through April 10 is a lot, it’s still a small sample size; and
2) What’s good for me is not necessarily good for you, and vice versa.

Similarly, the types of photos, videos, links and status updates will always matter. You can’t just share any photo or status update and expect to succeed. Likewise, I may not be framing my links or videos the way I should to obtain optimal results.

And finally, the destination is important. If my fans create a story out of my status update, what will develop from it? The same can be said for a photo. The best case scenario is typically a new fan.

But videos and links can lead to new subscribers off of Facebook. And while the rates may be lower, the payoff is significantly greater.

What results are you seeing? Do photos drive significantly more engagement on your Facebook Page?