Determining the lifespan of a Facebook post

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Facebook recently revealed that readers can see a potential of 1,500 posts from friends, pages and people they’re following in News Feed, and prior to changes in the News Feed algorithm, people only saw about 57 percent of possible stories. With these kinds of numbers, it’s evident that posts don’t really last too long. Wisemetrics recently published a study on SocialMediaToday.com, illustrating the lifespan of a Facebook post.

Wisemetrics found that in 2 hours, 30 minutes, a Facebook post usually hit 75 percent of its maximum, with reach hitting 75 percent of maximum in 1 hour, 50 minutes. It takes takes just 30 minutes for a post to get 50 percent of its global reach.

Wisemetrics compiled the following chart, representing median engagement, impression and reach over time with a confidence interval of +/- 5 percent.

post.progress.wisemetrics

Wise founder Steve Allard discussed the findings in the blog post:

The idea behind looking at posts’ progress over time is to be able to predict, as soon as possible, if a post will fail or beat all expectations to adjust community management efforts (e.g.: rushing in order to publish a new post or waiting a bit more).

In terms of modeling, the log-log shape of posts progress over time is a nice discovery. However even though all posts do seem to share a common shape, variance is very large (as we could see with the large tubes from our initial graph). Using a linear log-log fitting, we thus couldn’t map each post into a “as-usual” or “killer-post” category just by looking at performance from the very first few minutes of a post.

Going a step further, through a machine-learning approach based on derivatives of the curve (speed of increase) to predict end-point, we’re finally getting OK results, but it’s still not quite convincing. It needs to be coupled with models predicting a post performance even before it is published. But that’s another story.

Readers: How do you plan out your Facebook page posts?

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