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Strategic analysis
Strategies for Effective Facebook Wall Posts

Written by on April 8, 2011

Earlier this week BuddyMedia came out with what looked like a really interesting report. They looked at 200 of their clients, over a two week, period, in order to identify what works and what doesn't.

The report is littered with goodies for any community manager. Like:

  • Posts 80 characters or less in length have 27% higher engagement rates.
  • Engagement rates are 3 times higher for posts that use a full-length URL (because of the domain branding effect)
  • Simple outright requests are more powerful. Use "like us" instead of "visit our Facebook page."
  • With contests, softer sell words like "event" is better than using more direct words like "contest"
  • Asking a question at the end of a post produces a 15% higher engagement rate, than asking the question at the beginning.
  • Don't ask why. Ask Where, when, would, should.

They also go into when you should publish new posts. They found that Thursdays is the best day, followed by Friday. This doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. Thursday is also the best day for bloggers.

And they found that there is a big difference between industries. Here are a few examples.

What made the data look like this?

Not everything in this report should be taken at face value. Because they are only measuring the activity. They are not measuring it relation to people! ...or asking why the data looks the way it does. What is the mechanics behind the data?

Making conclusion just based the core data is never a good idea. If you want to analyze something, you have to understand what created the data.

This report is a perfect example.

BuddyMedia decided to look at what time of the day you should post, and came up with this graph:

From the data alone, you can see that most companies post during business hours (no surprise there). And, that the engagement rate is substantially higher in the late evening and early mornings.

And this is where they go wrong. Because, base on this graph they then conclude that brands posting in early mornings or late at night have a 20% higher engagement rates.

They even goes on to state:

This reflects the importance of having a post appear at the top of fan's News Feeds during times of day they are most likely checking their Facebook Pages. By posting within business hours, brands miss the critical opportunity to get the visibility they need for maximum engagement. So, schedule Posts to appear early in the morning or late at night.

Really? Are you saying that the best time to post is when people are at sleep?

The reason why the engagement rate is higher at night, is likely because there are fewer posts (so, each post stay on the top of your stream longer).

But you need to measure that in relation to people. How many people see your posts at night vs. how many people see it during the day.

To give you a simple example. Let's say 500 people see your post at 2 PM, with a 10% engagement rate, and 100 people see your post at 4 AM with a 20% engagement rate.

When is the best time to post?

20% of 100 people is just 20 persons, while 10% of 500 people is 50 persons. It doesn't matter if the engagement rate is higher, if the number of people are lower.

I don't know what the actual number of people are. I reached out to BuddyMedia a couple of days ago and asked them for a clarification. But, they have not replied.

I'm not saying that you should post during business hours. In my experience, the best time to post is when people are taking a break (like during lunch hours), when people get home from work (or are on the way there), and in the hours after people put their kids to sleep.

It is probably not a good idea to post after most people have gone to sleep.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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