This might come as a bit of a shock to brands who pour their heart and souls into putting together the best Facebook posts that will get people talking and sharing for days. A recent study shows that the average shelf life of a Facebook post is just 18 hours. We thought we were in a 24/7 culture when it comes to online, but even 24 hours it seems, is now a bit of a stretch.
The findings come from a study by OMD, who studied how long people continued to actively engage with a post after it was made. Off the back of the announcement that pages will only reach about 16% of their fans through postings, this is particularly unwelcome news.
What about quality?
The study was pretty extensive, covering posts made across ten Facebook Pages from November 2011 to February this year, ensuring that any arguments about seasonality or unusual circumstances can't apply. It brings up some rather uncomfortable conclusions for brands that heavily invest, certainly in terms of time, in their Facebook communities. While brands are becoming well practised in knowing the kind of things their fans want to see, it begs the question of how important this really is if your content isn't even going to live beyond a day. In this case, how much should we be focusing on quality?
On the plus side, it's good news for brands that might find themselves with a bit of crisis management on their hands. If our memories online are really that short-lived, the long term effect of something like a brand crisis, might not be so bad after all.
What the study did show is that video and photo posts both have a positive effect on longevity: 16% and 9% respectively, showing that this is the kind of areas brands need to invest in. This clearly comes down to the fact that we're crying out for content that we can share with our friends. The kind of stuff that makes us look a little bit cool and that we have our our hands on the best clips before anyone else. What this may mean for brands is that it's not about posting multiple times throughout the day, for fear of being left out of the crowded newsfeed, but that it's back to fewer, quality posts, where you are investing in creating quality content that lives on. At least for a few hours more.
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