How TV and Movies Are Getting Hit By The Facebook Edgerank Shift [STUDY]
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Late last year, movie studios and television shows began complaining of suddenly losing Facebook traffic, starting at the end of September.
To investigate what exactly has been going on, various social analytics players have conducted their own research and drawn dramatically different conclusions – some say something has definitely changed in the way Facebook handles newsfeed exposure and engagement while others say nothing has changed. Facebook has claimed that nothing significantly has changed and has been quick to rebuff naysayers by claiming that data that says otherwise is incomplete.
To really get to the bottom of what is going on, our partners Blitzmetrics (spinoff of BlitzLocal) decided to investigate by pulling insights on over 130 of movie studios and TV shows’ Facebook pages, covering the 30 days before 9/20 (judgment day that many reference) and the 30 days afterwards.
What they found is that during this time, small to medium sized pages received a significant increase in newsfeed exposure and engagement, while large pages (over 500k fans) were significantly penalized.
Negative Post Feedback Is The Issue
The data is very useful and supports what we’ve reported on Social Fresh before regarding these big Edgerank changes. Facebook’s big changes to the newsfeed come down to post negative feedback.
Fans click “hide” or unlike a page when they don’t care to see it. Facebook started weighting this more to combat spam and low quality content.
BlitzMetrics data shows that smaller pages have more engagement per fan on average than larger pages. Essentially, fans of smaller pages see page content more often then fans of larger pages.
If I am a fan of a large Facebook page (or any page) and I hardly ever or never see their content in my newsfeed, I am much more likely to hide it or unlike that page when the day comes around that one of their posts does show up in my newsfeed.
Check out the full data below from Blitzmetrics and some of the lessons that we draw out of the findings. Full report at the bottom of the post.
1. Small to medium sized pages saw significant increases in impressions, while the largest pages declined
As you follow the chart above from left to right, the Facebook pages being measured increase in size from 1,000 fans to 10 million+ fans. The larger pages are seeing a negative dip in impressions.
First, large fan pages have a different audience base than smaller pages that have a more devoted fan base. Fans of a smaller Facebook page are more likely to comment and interact with the page more.
Some of the medium sized pages are new TV shows at the start of the season which would explain high engagement on the pages.
2. Pages that grow the fastest typically tend to be the ones that run ads
3. Impressions per fan mimics the change in total impressions, since fan bases overall didn’t change much
4. The number of stories generated per page dropped only single digits, compared to a more significant drop in impressions.
Facebook is doing a much better job in choosing what to show in the news feed.
As we said, in September, Facebook made a change to its algorithm “EdgeRank” which decides which content users most want to see in their newsfeed. Many attribute these changes to an increase in the importance of Facebook’s negative feedback on posts, like fans clicking to “hide” a post in the newsfeed or unliking a page from the newsfeed.
Photos generate more negative feedback as well as large pages. Putting large entertainment brands in an especially vulnerable position.
72% of movies and network TV shows experienced a drop in the number of people who saw their Facebook posts, based on the 9 billion impressions these posts generated during the 60 day period.
Arguably just as important as views, this change in “EdgeRank” algorithm affected fan engagement. 23% of the biggest studio pages saw a reduction in the number of engaged users: people who click on a post, share it with friends, or write a comment – because of its decreased exposure in fan newsfeeds.
77% of the larger pages saw a drop in reach of 45%, but the decline in engaged users was only 23%. At the time, the number of paid exposure to new studio posts more than tripled. Maybe Hollywood is starting to wise up and is paying to get noticed on Facebook?
Some Key Lessons
1. Because of the passive nature of big pages’ fans, these pages saw a dramatic decrease in views and engagement.
2. Because of the more passionate and engaging nature of medium sized pages, they grew their impressions.
3. The newsfeed is more competitive now because there is more content than ever, organic and paid – content increase vs. ad inventory is still not clear and it still can’t be proven that Facebook is monkeying with the algorithm.
4. Newsfeed ads are at a frequency as high as 1 in 15 stories. Although this is quite high, not nearly high enough for advertisers.
Facebook has been experimenting with EdgeRank in more significant ways than in the past. Movie and TV pages, and all Facebook pages, would be best served by trying to engage their fans as much as possible before growing to be massive page that fans rarely see updates from.