Study: Auto-Posting to Facebook Decreases Likes and Comments by 70%

Facebook Pages that automatically publish content to the news feed through third-party apps such as HootSuite, TweetDeck, and Networked Blogs receive an average of 70% fewer Likes and comments on their posts per fan, according to a new study by Applum, developer of Page tool EdgeRank Checker. The study says the difference is likely due to Facebook reducing the prominence of posts published by third-party APIs, and Facebook collapsing updates from the same API from across a user’s friends and Liked Pages.

As Likes and comments increase a post’s prominence in the news feed — thereby driving more impressions and clicks — all Pages using auto-posting apps should look to switch to manual posting if possible.

Many companies, public figures, organizations, and news outlets (including our own) use auto-posting apps to create Facebook Page updates by syndicating their Twitter posts or converting their blog post headlines. This increases efficiency by relieving the admins of these accounts from having to copy and paste headlines and links from one platform to another.

The practice is subjectively considered  sub-optimal, though, as different platforms have different publishing capabilities and norms. Facebook for instance allows for rich media posts, so authors can select a thumbnail image and caption along with posting a link and headline. It’s typical for Twitter accounts to post up to a dozen times a day, but that volume could be viewed as spam on Facebook. Therefore, auto-posts can appear robotic and less compelling.

EdgeRank Checker’s study is the latest of several reports we’ve covered that reveal obstacles to engagement on Facebook. A recent PageLever study showed that the average Page gets only 7.49 daily unique news feed impressions on its posts and only 3.19 daily unique Page views per 100 fans.

EdgeRank Checker’s Data

Now, EdgeRank Checker has revealed empirical data that automatically published posts perform worse than manually published ones. EdgeRank Checker analyzed over 1,000,000 Facebook updates by more than 50,000 Pages with a combined reach of over 1,000,000,000 fans including duplicates. It then calculated the engagement ratio of the total Likes and comments on a Page’s post divided by the total fans of the Page at the time of the post for the ten most popular third-party publishing APIs.

The study determined that compared to the engagement of posts published manually to Facebook’s web or mobile interfaces, the reduction in engagement ratios of the top third-party publishing APIs are:

  • HootSuite – 69% reduction
  • TweetDeck – 73% reduction
  • Sendible – 75% reduction
  • Networked Blogs – 76% reduction
  • RSS Graffiti – 81% reduction
  • Twitter – 83% reduction
  • Publisher – 86% reduction
  • twitterfeed – 90% reduction
  • – 91% reduction
  • Social RSS – 94% reductions

These averaged out such that posts published through a third-party auto-posting app saw roughly 70% fewer Likes and comments than those published through Facebook’s first-party interfaces. This is in part due to Facebook’s direct punishment of the EdgeRank of posts by third-party APIs. Also, if a user’s news feed contain multiple posts from a single API, whether from a single author or several different Pages and friends, the posts are collapsed and must be unfolded to be seen.

The takeaway point of the study is that it is well worth it to take the extra minute to manually craft a Facebook post rather than auto-post. This might require changes to workflows or allocation of additional human resources. Still, Page owners could be sacrificing a lot of their social media performance and return on investment to save a small amount of time and effort.

Update 9/9/2011: We’ve now learned that Facebook maintains a secret whitelist of companies that are exempt from having content posted through their publishers consolidated across different Pages and clients. This protects them from a reduction in news feed impressions. The whitelist includes some top enterprise Page management tools from the Preferred Developer Consultant program including Buddy Media, Vitrue, Involver, Context Optional and Syncapse. Read more.

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27 Responses to “Study: Auto-Posting to Facebook Decreases Likes and Comments by 70%”

  1. Auto-Posting to Facebook Decreases Fan Engagement | Rollins Labs says:

    [...] Inside Facebook & EdgeRank [...]

  2. Why You Should Not Use Third-Party Apps For Facebook Posting - 10,000 Words says:

    [...] Facebook posts that are posted via a third-party app like HootSuite, TweetDeck, and others receive an average of 70 percent fewer likes and comments for each fan, according to a new study by Applum. [...]

  3. I Don’t Have Anything to Tweet. Sure You Do! - Jonathan Rick, No Straw Men says:

    [...] (additional automatons include the New York Times, GovLoop, and Gawker), it fails on Facebook. According to a new study, Facebook Pages that auto-publish receive an average of 70% fewer likes and comments. The study [...]

  4. Nobody Listens to Anything via Social Media — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers says:

    [...] your social media acounts like one huge megaphone, blaring across the internet: it doesn’t work, and here are the numbers showing that. Nobody pays attention to you. So stop it already. My tough love is my gift to [...]

  5. 3 Things Every Facebook Admin Should Know « Alaina Wiens says:

    [...] this month, Inside Facebook reported that “auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%.” The study says the difference is likely due to Facebook reducing the prominence of posts [...]

  6. Please, sir, can I have some more social media? « Carolyn Crist's daily pages says:

    [...] today that talked about how third-party applications such as Twitter, Tweet Deck and HootSuite can actually decrease Facebook feedback because of the way the Facebook filters operate. I guess I’ll start posting manual updates [...]

  7. Study: Auto posting your Facebook updates hurts engagement « Cornerstone PR says:

    [...] come through third-party apps receive an average of 70 percent fewer likes and comments per fan. Inside Facebook offers a breakdown on which apps have the lowest engagement [...]

  8. What You Need to Know Week of September 26th » Social Media Week says:

    [...] Things Facebook Talking about the lastest changes: Auto-posting Reduces Feedback by 70% (via InsideFacebook) Facebook Responds to Accusations Facebook Tracks Users When Are Logged Out [...]

  9. Das Ende des Auto-Post Wahnsinns // Blog.Tocki | Tilman Ockert, Stuttgart says:

    [...] sie haben den Gedankengang, mich von diesem Autogeposte zu trennen, doch unterstützt. Es wird an mehreren Stellen berichtet, dass automatisch – also mittels einem Tool – auf Facebook gepostete [...]

  10. Compilation of Social Media Stats (USA and Canada) for Marketers 2011 | Marketing in the Public Sector says:

    [...] 25. Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%. (Inside Facebook) [...]

  11. 50 social media stats | Wallaroo Media - National and Local SEO, Social Media, Online Marketing says:

    [...] 25. Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%. (Inside Facebook) [...]

  12. Online engagement is meetbaar says:

    [...] Het verbinden van deze media en het op deze wijze verspreiden van content geeft kansen, maar ook risico’s: je doelgroepen moeten immers niet dubbel belast worden met informatie en de interactie. Ik vind [...]

  13. Hootsuite VS Tweetdeck « Hablemosdelonuestro says:

    [...] Inside Facebook, “El algoritmo de Facebook resta importancia a los post publicados con una de estas herramientas, [...]

  14. Quora says:

    Do you know an online tool to schedule the publishing of a Facebook’s post for a Page?…

    To expand on what Ted Sindzinski has said, another (and perhaps the most important) reason why you shouldn’t do this is Facebook doesn’t give scheduled posts the same weight in the user News Feed as manual updates. As such, auto-posting has been show…

  15. 50 Social Media Stats #adagestat : DigiMix Marketing & Design Blog says:

    [...] 25. Auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by 70%. (Inside Facebook) [...]

  16. HOOTSUITE VS TWEETDECK | Jose David Palomares says:

    [...] Según Inside Facebook, “El algoritmo de Facebook resta importancia a los post publicados con una de estas herramientas, y rebaja un 70% los ‘me gusta’ en Facebook”. Por esto, aunque son 2 magníficas herramientas no hay que olvidar el cometido de las redes sociales para empresas, mantener informado al público, interactuar con ellos, que sientan que hay alguien detrás para atenderles, por lo que si ven que es una máquina quien lanza los tweets o posts, puede romperse este vínculo, tened cuidado con esto. [...]

  17. Quora says:

    Why did Facebook disable auto-publishing from Pinterest?…

    I never worked on Feed-related stuff so this is pure speculation. It shouldn’t be surprising that Facebook would change feed rankings based on a decline/decay in a certain type of story that enters the feed. For services that do a lot of auto-publishi…

  18. How to create a Facebook page « MDLF Knowledge Bridge says:

    [...] However, if possible, do not automate posting of all of your content. Studies show that completely automated pages have lower levels of engagement, decreasing likes and comments by on average 70%. [...]

  19. Facebook, Business Friendly At Last says:

    [...] study last year by Applum, showed that updates posted by 3rd Party Applications, such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, performed [...]

  20. Facebook Pages Get a Business-Friendly Makeover says:

    [...] study last year by Applum, showed that updates posted by 3rd Party Applications, such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, performed [...]

  21. Auto-post At Your Peril! « Kelvin Myles says:

    [...] Other than being labelled a spammer and possibly being removed from groups, there is strong evidence to suggest that auto-posting to Facebook can reduce your Edge-Rank (the chance of your posts being seen by friends/sunscribers). There is a great article about this at InsideFaceBook: Study: Auto-Posting to Facebook Decreases Likes and Comments by 70%. [...]

  22. Big Star Copywriting | Just another WordPress site says:

    [...] an interesting post I saw today: Auto-Posting to Facebook Decreases Likes and Comments by 70%. As a copywriter, this just serves as further proof that the authentic, human communication is what [...]

  23. 12 Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make in Social Media (via Telecentre Europe) « Mission-Minded Media says:

    [...] study reveals that auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes & comments by 70%. People don’t listen to robots. Automation of status updates and tweets is the opposite of [...]

  24. Slacks & Sweats: Creating Buzz For A Team « Slacks & Sweats says:

    [...] it comes to social media, the key is simple: Make it about the fan. According to one study, auto-posting to a page “decreases Likes and Comments by 70%.” When fans come to your [...]

  25. Why I've Disabled All Auto Posting To Facebook And Twitter says:

    [...] is according to Josh Constine’s, writing for Inside Facebook who suggests that all pages using auto posting apps should be manually updating if possible. Josh [...]

  26. 3 Apps for Scheduling Social Media Posts | Intuit Small Business Blog says:

    [...] to manage social media activity saves time, but some data point to lower engagement rates. A 2011 study found that engagement rates could drop as much as 70 percent when using third-party apps like [...]

  27. Robots on Facebook: Does Using Auto Posting Software on Facebook Hurt Feedback - Internet Marketing and Social Media | says:

    [...] had apparently rid itself of these issues last year, and they were no longer much of an issue.  (Check out the article here)  While the article itself was outdated, having seen that Facebook had fixed this bug, I began to [...]

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