Foreword Online

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Do Images Increase Facebook Engagement?

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 12/15/14 10:00 PM
Topics: social media, facebook

The easy answer to our titular question is obviously "yes." But just how much of a difference do images make in terms of getting customers to interact with your Facebook page? Hootsuite's blog explores that question, and you can read their entire article here.

Is every image post socially engaging? Not necessarily

As social media managers have increased their image post output, broad engagement with brand Facebook Pages has plummeted.

Organic reach for posts had declined from 12.05% in October 2013 to 6.15% in February 2014. The statistics are more eye-opening for Pages with more than 500,000 likes. During the same time period, Facebook engagement fell from 4.04% in October to 2.11%.

If images increase engagement, and more images are being posted to Facebook Pages, why hasn’t engagement for brand Facebook Pages likewise increased?

Not all images are perceived alike. A study by Tagg shows that there are differing levels of engagement depending on whether a human being appears in a brand’s photo.

Images that show only certain parts of the body and not the face generated the most likes and second best in comments and shares, which makes it the winner in overall engagement at 81%. Images that show no person or body part at all generated the most comments and shares and came in at second in overall engagement at 78%.

Meanwhile, at only 62% engagement, images that that show at least one person’s face generated the least engagement, which somehow approves the study hypothesis.

Hence, pictures of a human face provokes less engagement than pictures of a body part or pictures without a human being featured at all.

Examining this data, one would naturally suppose that popular memes such as lolcats and rage comics would be a natural fit for Facebook Pages. However, Facebook now punishes “low quality” memes. As of November 2014, Facebook has tweaked their algorithm yet again to punish any content deemed “too promotional”—even if they’re accompanied by images.

Facebook engagement - no low-quality memes

Perhaps one reason engagement has plummeted is because—rather than simply being engaging—images are sometimes used to manipulate engagement metrics. Another reason might be that much of the content has been recycled too often. It’s hard to provoke engagement when your audience has seen the same meme again and again.

While brand Facebook Pages are posting many images to their timeline, are they engaging images? And while images attracted the most engagement in Facebook in 2011, is it still the case today?

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