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A Study of Fan Engagement on Facebook Pages
April 19, 2011

In helping our clients recently, we realized that very few organizations had a good sense of what ‘engagement’ to expect from Facebook, even though the resources being allocated towards social media are consistently increasing. While some high-level numbers have been reported for Facebook as an overall ecosystem, very little is known from a vertical focus.


In this report, Visibli analyzed over 200 million Facebook Fans to determine their engagement habits across different Fan Page types. By tracking the number of Likes and Comments that each post received over time, we studied the resiliency of each Facebook post as well as the overall activity. [See notes below for more details]

Here are some interesting (and surprising!) findings:

  • Bieber? Gaga? Wrong! Audi’s Facebook Fans are much more engaged than both of theirs. (tweet this)
  • Just like high school: Artists get all the love, with more engagement as their Pages grow. Opposite for media, brands. (tweet this)
  • Facebook posts receive 50% of their Likes in the first 1h20m, 80% in the first 7 hours, and 95% within 22 hours. (tweet this)
  • Artists’ Facebook posts receive 2x as many ‘Likes’ as posts from media organizations and brands. (tweet this)
  • Media organizations receive 2.5x as many Comments on their Facebook posts as artists, and 5x as many as brands. (tweet this)

Audi Generates More Engagement than Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga

Of the Facebook Pages we reviewed with over 100,000 Likes, Audi had by far the most engaged fans – despite the fact that, overall, brands performed poorly compared to artists and media organizations. For each post, the car manufacturer received over 225 Likes per 100k fans, surpassing even the most popular artists.

Justin Bieber ranked 2nd on this list with over 180 Likes per 100k fans each time he posted. Chamillionaire, Lady Gaga and American Airlines rounded out the top 5 most engaging Pages from the ones we studied.

Engagement Levels as Fan Pages Grow: Only Artists are Doing it Right

Our study shows that the dynamics of fan engagement for brands and media organizations is very different than for artists.

For brands and media organizations, Pages with fewer fans have greater engagement on a per capita basis than Pages with a higher number of fans. Conversely, as the number of fans on Pages increase, engagement levels decrease. Another way to look at it: fans that Like a Page later are less engaged than the ones who Liked it earlier.

While that might seem like an obvious statement, the opposite is actually true for artists’ Pages! We found that as the number of fans on an artist’s Page increased, fan engagement also increased – an example of the network gaining value as others joined it.

The Half-life of a Facebook Post

Many users are unsure of when their previous posts have gone stale, and a new post might be beneficial. Our study shows that, on average, Facebook posts receive 50% of their Likes within the first 1 hour 20 minutes of being published, 80% within the first 7 hours, and 95% within the first 22 hours.

This means that marketers can take solace in the fact that Facebook posts are much more resilient than Twitter posts. To avoid cannibalizing Likes from earlier posts, companies may delay future posts until they have maximized engagement on previous ones.

Likes and Comments per Post: Brands are boooooring!

As we looked at the number of Likes and Comments per post, we learned that artists and media organizations are engaging in very different ways. Meanwhile, brands have a long way to go to catch up to either of them.

On average, artists’ posts receive 92 Likes per post, which is almost twice the number of Likes for media organizations and brands.

Surprisingly, the same is not true for Comments. Media organizations receive significantly more Comments per post (43 per post) than artists (17) or brands (only 9). While people are more likely to comment on current news, they will simply Like an artist’s post and then move on.

Some Notes

  • The word "fan" is used in this study to minimize ambiguities, since Facebook Pages and posts can both have “Likes”. In this study, “fan” refers to a user who has Liked a Page (vs. a post)
  • Engagement in this study is determined by the number of fans who actively Like or Comment on posts. This is also calculated on a per capita basis (Likes and Comments per 100,000 Fans) to avoid biases towards more popular Pages
  • Sizes of these Pages ranged from 23,000 to 27.5 million Fans. To normalize the data, we calculated the number of per capita Likes per post – i.e. Likes per 100,000 fans.
  • Only Facebook Pages with more than 100,000 Fans were considered when evaluating for highest engagement

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