Facebook Postings: An Unscientific Analysis

Ron McDonald
Publisher & Editor
Southern Fishing News


I have shared select Facebook News Feed posts from other pages and posted my original material for several years now, both on the “Ronnie Mac (Southern Fishing News)” page (classified as “personal”) and the business formatted “Southern Fishing News” Facebook page for years.

As a digital medium editor, I have always been keenly interested in the “reach” of my posts (how many readers of the Southern Fishing News posts actually engage – read) and “impressions” (how many of the Southern Fishing News audience see the post and the text/graphic but do not engage with the post.)

In the past, I have been disappointed with the number of “Likes” on posts I thought would be of high interest to visitors to my page, specifically, on the original “Ronnie Mac (Southern Fishing News)” page.) I was laboring under the misconception that the number of “Likes” a post gets indicates readership.

The “Ronnie Mac (Southern Fishing News)” page has 4, 315 “Friends” and 649 folks that “follow” the posts on the page. Those two audience numbers total 4,964 of potential page readers any one day. These numbers do not include the reach and impressions of other Facebook readers that surf the pages and leave no trace.

I discovered “Likes” do not really represent true readership, the Reach, or Impressions of a post.

“Likes” do not really represent true readership, the Reach, or Impressions of a post.

I discovered this fact while doing a casual review of some of my posts “Likes”. One post showed a total of 27 “Likes.” However, the same post generated 800 “Shares.” That meant 773 people engaged/read the post but did not indicate such with a “Like”. If the reader had not “Shared” the post I would have thought only 27 people had read the post. The actual reach and impressions generated by the post would probably, actually, be even higher because of readers that just read the post and did not engage with the post – “transparent traffic.”

Another post looked at showed 10 “Likes” and 800 “Shares”. Really telling data that offers evidence that you have more people actually reading your posts than “Liking” is a fairly recent post previewing a story posted on our website, southernfishingnews.com. The “Likes” for that particular story preview were below 30. However, the “Shares” were over 1000! That’s a winning post even without the “transparent traffic.”

I have not conducted any kind of scientific study but have an opinion on why some posts get high “Share” numbers. Readers that normally just read posts and move on, but stop to “Share”, are strongly, emotionally impacted by a particular post’s content, a higher than normal interest in the subject matter, maybe the subject of a compelling post the reader has not seen, as well as “fresh” ideas, etc.

So, can you look at a post you place on your Facebook page and determine the “Reach” and/or “Impressions” based on the post’s “Likes” and “Shares?” No, not really. The reason is simple. A great number of post readers are not prone to engage with a post’s Like, Share, or Comment buttons so their stop at a post does not generate any post traffic data. However, a high number of “Likes” or a high number of “Shares” on a post indicate that particular post generated more interest and engagement. Another similar post would likely result in high readership as well.

One positive takeaway from this enlightenment is that a personal page post with “Likes”, and especially “Shares”, has a LOT more readership than you think. So don’t feel like no one is reading what you post.



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