Optimizing Facebook Engagement – The Effect Of Post Length

Posted on June 27th 2012

Optimizing Facebook Engagement – The Effect Of Post Length
Size matters when it comes to Facebook Engagement.

People on Facebook are tired, busy, bored, hungry and utterly bombarded with a wall of chatter from friends, acquaintances and brands. They don't have more than a few seconds to glimpse a message, mentally shrug, and move on.

Brands need to use every means at their disposal to catch people's attention, and draw them in.

One method is using images - a picture is worth a thousand words and our previous article dramatically showed the benefits of Photo posting compared to other types of posts on Facebook.

However, what matters equally dramatically is the length of the text message you include with your Post - be it a Photo, Video, Link or plain Status Post. We used the Track Social platform to analyze the effect of Post Length on response level.

Smaller messages show a significant increase in response levels.

We point out that writing a small post is no guarantee of success. Nor is a long post destined to fail. It is also true that the benefit of succinct posting varies from brand to brand, depending on many factors such as the nature of their product and the attitude of their audience. However:

Post Length is amongst the most consistent factors that we see having an impact on engagement levels across the board.

It turns that that Twitter got it right. There is a distinct roll-off in Engagement level beyond 140 characters. Though roll-off does begin before that point, the now traditional 140 character size limit is probably necessitated by the need to for Urls, Hashs and other references.

Our overall advice to brands is:

  1. Get to the point with short, punchy statements. Try to stay below 100 characters.
  2. Where possible, let images do the talking.
  3. Avoid the temptation to add superfluous branding or product tie-ins as this is a common reason that message length increases unnecessarily.

Track Social offers enterprise clients a customized analysis of Facebook Engagement as well as many other aspects of social media performance. For more information, and to apply for a free assessment of your brands posting patterns, go here.

Stay tuned for the next article in our series, which will look at additional variables that impact Facebook Engagement. To learn more about the methodology of this study go here. To sign up to receive alerts for our Facebook Engagement series and more, go here.

 

Morgan J. Arnold

Morgan J. Arnold

CEO, Track Social

Morgan J. Arnold is a marketing entrepreneur with a PhD in Engineering. Morgan is CEO of Track Social, the leader in Engagement Optimization.

Track Social monitors, aggregates and analyzes the Social Media accounts of thousands of businesses across multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Track Social provides a self-serve Analytics Platform as well as Professional Reporting, Social Advertising and Enterprise Consulting services.

Morgan is also CEO of Sprokkit, The Smart Marketing Agency.

See Full Profile >

Comments

samrowe22
Posted on June 28th 2012 at 2:37PM

"Get to the point with short, punchy statements. Try to stay below 100 characters." - my favourite quote of the day. Definitely what I try my best to do with both my own personal tweets and my clients, but sometimes I find it difficult to keep my blogs short. Whenever I have an idea I tend to run on. What do you think about engagement and length of blogs?

Sam

Morgan J. Arnold
Posted on June 28th 2012 at 7:28PM

Greetings Sam, thanks for your comment.

With a blog, there is generally a greater expectation of more substantive content, and people are more prone to take time with it than with a tweet or Facebook post. Perhaps they have come from a tweet, or other smaller communication with the epectation of getting something more.

However many of the same principles apply - you need to catch people's interest early and draw them into your narrative. Also, do not have great expectations of a high percentage of people finishing, or meticulously digesting, your prose, no matter how well written and relevant it is.

You need to hit them with something they are wanting quickly, maintain a solid pace, and deliver the critical messages efficiently. I would say blog posts shouldn't be above 700 words without good reason.

Typically there will be some type of call to action for those who want more still.