Are you posting the same story to Facebook multiple times? You’re probably wasting your time

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First, second and third posts. Average, low and lower.

The Process

For the bulk of this analysis, the goal was to measure the outcome of resharing stories. And by stories, I’m specifically referring to link posts to articles on a publisher’s website. For most traditional digital media, this is the majority of Facebook shares.

The Data

As Facebook metrics are always in motion, all the data were pulled on Sept. 7, 2018. The tale of the tape is as follows:

  • The Chicago Tribune shared 9,699 posts in 2017.
  • There were 1,031 total instances of the same link shared in 2017.
  • Twelve posts were excluded because either the first or second post was deleted for unknown workflow reasons.
  • 72 posts were excluded because they didn’t meet our core requirements of having two link posts to calculate between. Maybe the first was a photo post and the second was a video post.
  • There were 64 pairs where a native video post followed a link post. I’ll set those aside and get to them later.
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Video as a Second Post

Separately, I mentioned there were 64 instances where a native video post followed a link post. In 62.5% of cases, that native video second post with a Bitly link to the same story actually outperformed in reach the original link post. That reverses the trend even if the dataset is smaller.

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The takeaway

Now, why posts behave this way is not something Facebook publicly discusses. We know, loosely, when someone you follow makes a post, an initial determination is made based on many factors like topic and post type to determine if you’re likely to interact with that share. If it’s optimal, you see it. The algorithm tries to find the best initial audience based on an individual’s Facebook behavior. It’s person centered not publisher centered.

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Kurt Gessler

Kurt Gessler

1.3K Followers

Director of Editorial Ops at @ChicagoTribune et al. I also teach stuff at @UNLincoln @Unl_CoJMC. Practicing journalism et sic per gradus ad ima tenditur