Study indicates publishers who have followed Facebook’s advice may be suffering poor performance as a result

London, UK – November 4, 2020: The true performance impact of posting photos to Facebook was revealed today in a new study from Echobox, the AI-powered social publishing platform.

The study, entitled Should publishers post photos on Facebook? How posting photos impacts publishers’ Facebook performance, measured the impact of introducing photo posts into a publisher’s sharing strategy.

To conduct this study – believed to be the first of its kind in the industry – Echobox partnered with 11 of the world’s leading publishers and analyzed tens of thousands of Facebook posts. They found: 

  • Contrary to Facebook’s previous advice to publishers regarding post types, sharing a mix of link posts and photo posts has a negative effect on performance for publishers, compared to exclusively sharing link posts
  • The higher the ratio of photo posts, the greater the negative impact on performance across key metrics
  • Once photo posts are removed from the sharing strategy (and link posts are again used exclusively), performance returns to baseline levels for publishers
  • Any publisher sharing content regularly on Facebook could be missing out on valuable reach and traffic that can have a significant cumulative impact

Antoine Amann, CEO of Echobox, said: “This study shows publishers how crucial it is to use data to help build an effective social strategy, rather than following assumptions or general guidance. In light of this eye-opening research, many publishers may wish to re-evaluate their own Facebook sharing strategies.”

Selected highlights from the report: 

  • Facebook has advised publishers to introduce a mix of photo posts and link posts into their sharing strategy, rather than link posts alone. 
  • As no publisher studies exist on the impact of mixing post formats, Echobox decided to conduct a scientific study on this topic and found that:
    • Sharing a combination of link posts and photo posts negatively affected publisher performance across four key metrics: 
      • Absolute pageviews from Facebook
      • Percentage of pageviews from Facebook
      • Facebook impressions
      • Click-through rate (CTR)
    • This negative impact became even more pronounced as the percentage of photo posts increased. 
    • Once photo posts were removed from the mix and the post type reverted to link posts only, all four metrics recorded an increase, returning towards the baseline values established in the first phase of the study.
  • This data indicates that posting photos instead of link posts results in reduced reach and traffic for publishers.
  • Publishers are therefore advised against introducing photo posts into their social strategy; they should instead focus on other factors that can be leveraged to improve Facebook traffic.

About Echobox

Echobox is the new standard in social media publishing, chosen by more than 800 of the world’s leading publishers, including Newsweek, The Times, The Telegraph, Handelsblatt, Le Monde and Conde Nast. Publishers share more than 10 million posts and reach billions of people with Echobox each year. Echobox’s research and insights have been written about by many of the world’s leading publications including the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, Techcrunch and Forbes. Read more at www.echobox.com/resources.

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