November 23, 2014

Facebook Posts Get Most Engagement in First Five Hours

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That post you just left on Facebook won’t interest your followers for long. In fact, several studies suggest most engagement for your post occurs in the first 5 hours after you create it.

Engagement, by the way, at least as defined by Facebook, means actions – likes, shares, clicks or comments – taken by a user when he or she sees your post.

That’s an incredibly short time to get your audience’s attention. Let’s face it. Some may go much longer without even glancing at their Facebook page. But that’s not all.

The Limited Shelf-life of a Facebook Post

Wisemetrics, the firm that did the latest of these studies and recently shared the results, dug a little deeper. Here’s what they found:

  • 90 percent of a post’s total expected engagement happens within the first 12 hours after its creation. That’s just half a day!
  • Your Facebook post receives 75 percent of its impressions — the number of times it’s displayed in the news streams of your followers or the people they shared it with — within the first two and a half hours.
  • It gets 75 percent of its reach — the number of people impressions are sent to and hence possibly a lower number than impressions — in less than two hours.
  • It reaches 50 percent of its global reach — the total number of Facebook users in the world who an impression will ever be sent to or shared with — in just 30 minutes.

Getting More From Your Facebook Content

There are a few ways to get more mileage out of your Facebook posts:

  • Wisemetrics recommends optimizing the time you post messages by researching when your followers are online and when your peers and competitors post most of their content.
  • You can also consider using Facebook’s new embedded posts to share your content on your blog or other website giving others the chance to see and possibly share it.
  • Remember recent research also indicates social media content “liked” soon after posting generally gets more engagement.

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Joshua Sophy - Staff Writer


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering technology and business news. He is a journalist and editor with 15 years experience in media. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Joshua also serves as President of the Board of Directors of a curling club and is editor of a regional newsletter focused on the sport of curling in the Eastern U.S.

17 Reactions

  1. And if you don’t get the engagement you want there is always the option to “boost” your post through Facebook’s advertising platform. Even small budgets like $25 can have a huge impact.

  2. I am actually not surprised at all depending on the post and the results we want to achieve we schedule it at a time when we know our audience is online given the post a chance to reach high engagement

  3. It’s easy to tell why Facebook gets more engagement. First, you are connected with people who are close to you. These people support you and will take a look at your posts. The other reason is that it is updated in real time. People can browse through it when they simply have nothing to do.

  4. The study carried out by Wisemeterics is very handy and I appreciate their findings. But the fact of the matter is, any good and informative content will go viral and will be seen, clicked and read by users for longer period of time. It’s also true that your shared content gets the most hit when your followers or friends are online. You should also keep an eye on the type of contents shared by your competitors, especially the time when they make it live to their audience.

    Doing and practicing this shall give you a better idea about your audience presence and their heavy engagement attitude in different social media platforms.

  5. This is good to note because people need to know how to best use Facebook as a marketing tactic and this information is great for that purpose.

  6. Thanks a lot for quoting our study.
    BTW, our company name is “Wisemetrics” ;-)

    • Our apologies, Stephane. We have corrected the misspelling of your company name.

      – Anita

    • Stephane,
      Thanks for the wonderful data your study produced. I’m sure it will be helpful for many small business marketers moving forward. Very sorry about our misspelling of your company name. Articles are generally carefully reviewed, but occasionally errors creep through. Happily, this one has now been corrected.

  7. That’s not a long time at all. I’m wondering if it’s something Facebook built into its algorithm with the intention of making money from it or whether it’s just a way to manage the flow of activity.

    I still can’t get myself to like my own posts though.

  8. Stephane … my apologies.

    I don’t think this is about going viral, just developing a good strategy for posting to Facebook to ensure you’re reaching who you need to reach.

    I think the 5-hour statistic is interesting as an average. Consider though, that many users could have hundreds of Likes for pages and thousands of friends so their feed could be endless. I would think that the shelf-life of your one post for some people would be less than 5 hours, and for others, more.

    In my opinion, I don’t think it would be inappropriate to hit the same message in a post several times a day, say 6+. If you watch TV, you see the same ads over-and-over-and-over. Behavior-based ads are reaching you on almost every site you visit.

  9. Good morning. This is a very interesting article. These numbers are extremely helpful for my social media manager. She has found the optimal times to post on both Facebook and Twitter as well as other platforms by tracking responses such as “likes” and “reaches.” What I find most interesting, however, is there is little concrete evidence regarding how many followers actually receive posts. I know that 100% of our followers do not see what we post on a regular basis. Do you have any stats about this?
    Ken Schmitt
    Founder/President
    TurningPoint Executive Search

  10. I’ve actually noticed this watching the analytics of my Facebook pages. Posts get engagement – sometimes quickly – then drop after about 1/2 day. And they don’t just fade, they suddenly go cold.

    Great post!

    • My handy dandy social media chart on the wall next to my desk says the best times to post to Facebook is between 1 and 4PM. Maybe that five our window could be extended during those times?

  11. I think it’s important to consider that your business is unique and so are your customers. Relying on stats is OK for generalities but you need to keep YOUR customers first in mind.

  12. Hi Joshua,
    Thanks for referring to our blog.
    We just published a new data-oriented study where we analyze how promoting posts on Facebook impacts EdgeRank, and we present a few findings: http://blog.wisemetrics.com/
    For instance we show that even if a promoted posts gets a lot of negative feedback, Facebook won’t penalize the page.
    Let us know if you find it interesting.
    Thanks!

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