For the third straight year, we analyzed every post for the 700+ college and university Facebook Pages in our directory. That amounted to more than 300,000 posts!
We'll be releasing our results in a series of blog posts over the next few days highlighting various aspects of our analysis.
- Part I: A High-Level Look at When and What Colleges Posted on Facebook in 2013
- Part II: The 500 Most Engaging Facebook Posts of 2013
- Part III: Finding the Sweet Spot: A Closer Look at Post Frequency
- Part IV: Keep 'Em Coming Back: Most Engaging College Facebook Pages of 2013
We pulled every post available via Facebook's Graph API for every school in our directory of college and university Facebook Pages (708 pages were used in our 2013 analysis). We only analyzed posts made by the Facebook Page itself, not the fans of that page (301,897 posts). We made an attempt to remove any duplicate posts from this data to provide as accurate a picture as possible. We collected the count of likes, comments, and shares for each post. The data pulls were done during the first week of January 2014. We also pulled the fan data every week for each of the Facebook Pages in our directory, giving us a ballpark approximation of the fan count for a given page when a post was made.
For each post, we used the following formula to determine an Engagement Score:
The Engagement Score is our attempt to quantify how effective a given post is at engaging the audience of an institution's page. We use likes, comments, and shares as signals of this engagement. We've assigned comments and shares twice the weighting of likes because we believe writing a comment or sharing a post with your Facebook friends is a stronger form of engagement than a simple click of the like link. A comment involves a person contributing new content and a share increases the distribution of the original post.
We recognize that this is a rudimentary measurement, but we believe it provides a high-level sense of how engaging a particular post is and a point of comparison when looking for trends and best practices. We also recognize that our metric focuses on particular forms of engagement (likes, comments, and shares). It does not take into account how many views a video may have received, how many click-thrus a link may have garnered, or whether a post led to particular actions by an audience member. We would love to be able to incorporate these metrics into our analysis, but are limited by the data provided by Facebook via its Graph API. You should consider incorporating these metrics when attempting to analyze your own institution's Facebook Page posts, where more data can be gleaned from the Insights section.