“Study” Finds Facebook Timeline Increases Brand Engagement – or Does it?

I ran across an interesting study on Mashable that claims the new Facebook Timeline for Pages provides a 46% brand lift in engagement. The study was performed by a research firm called Simply Measured.  They found that the average engagement per posts for brands increased 46% since the new Timeline launch, and the fan engagement rate (annualized) increased 14% since the new Timeline launch.  This increase came from an increased engagement with photos and videos, up 65% (responses to status updates actually decreased).  It’s possible that this increased engagement with photos and videos is due to the new layout that puts a heavier emphasis on images.

There is a big catch to these survey results. The study was only performed on 15 brands, all of which are big names (such as Toyota, Red Bull, Ben & Jerry’s, and Coca-Cola).

I have a couple of problems with this selection:

1. The sample size is really too small to make any assumptions about the new format

2. All of these brands were heavily mentioned when the Timeline was released as they were early adopters. Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, and Red Bull were top names in the news and were used as examples on how to use the new format by many. Hence, the brands would experience an increase in people clicking on photos and videos. I would be extremely interested to see the numbers of people who came to the page after the release and before the release. I’m guessing it’s a very large increase, so of course this would increase overall engagements.

4. Given these big name brands, I’m sure most of them are running page post Facebook ads as well as the new reach generator, which would mean additional people are seeing the posts and thus interacting with them.

5. Many followers of brand pages never visit the page, but instead interact with the posts when they come into their newsfeed. The redesign of the Pages will impact engagements, but we have to keep in mind that this doesn’t effect the way users see the posts in their newsfeed.

Overall, I have a problem with the study and think it would be great to see the numbers of visitors to these pages, as well as look at some data from small businesses and brands who have switched over to the new layout.

Do you have a business you’d like to discuss how the new timeline has effected engagments? Let me know and lets see what data we can compile together! It would be great to get some insight into what impact the new format has made for smaller companies.

-Bryan Nagy

The original article can be found here:

http://mashable.com/2012/03/27/facebook-timeline-brands-engagement/

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