A recent study shared the best time to publish posts to Social Media – specifically Facebook. The researchers: Vamsi K. Kanuri (Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business) Yixing Chen (Doctoral Student in Marketing, Texas A&M University, Mays School of Business) and Shrihari (Hari) Sridhar (Associate Professor of Marketing, Center for Executive Development Professor, Texas A&M University, Mays School of Business) examined how scheduling attributes such as time of day, content type and boosting effect link clicks. For example: how does sharing something at 9:00 a.m. compare to sharing the same piece of content at 2:00 p.m.? They tested this hypothesis using a model estimated on 366 days of Facebook post data from the top 50 US newspapers.
According to the article in Harvard Business Review, US companies are expected spend more than $37 billion in social media promotion annually by 2020 (that’s a lot of money!) This is especially astonishing because most people who are responsible for these programs and promotions don’t usually have s plan, nor a system of measurement in place to ensure that they are actually achieving meaningful business results. [Learn about setting goals for your social media programs.]
Researchers reviewed data from organizations like CNN, ESPN and National Geographic and additionally, they spoke with social media managers to get an idea of how they determine what to post and when. Most of the SMM’s confirmed that they posted in the morning, Despite the fact that they operated with little strategy in place, their goal was to get the audience to click through to a website. We talk a lot here at TAKCAM and Social Media Questions with Kat about putting a solid strategy in place, to identify goals and objectives so that you know whether or not your programs a success.
What did the researchers conclude?
How did they come to this conclusion?
They examined link clicks of 5,700 posts on Facebook of the major publications listed above and concluded that content that made readers feel angry, concerned, worried had a higher click-thru-rate (CTR) in the morning, than the same types of posts shared in the afternoon and evening. You know that uneasy feeling when you’re going through your newsfeed and you see something like hurricane warnings. They explained this behaviour as it relates to the human working memory.
Our human working memory is responsible for how we store and manipulate information required to complete daily tasks. So there’s a reason that after sleep in the morning for those of you who are morning people, you function higher in the morning. So if your working memory is highest in the morning, it translates into individuals feeling alert and they searching for information. For myself, I love mornings because I’m fresh and alert and feel like I can absorb new things. I spend my mornings reading, doing client work and trying to get in anything that requires that level of effort. It’s also a time when you’re most likely to engage.
But in the afternoon it is low. When your working memory is low the brain needs to prioritize information to be efficient. o it means that in that mid-afternoon after we’ve had lunch and we’re tired, it’s really hard for us to process information. When you see boosted content, and because we know that boosted content, sponsored posts, ads in general look different and they have to look different than our organic posts, so identified as an ad or whatever, our brand picks it up naturally because it says, “Wow. This looks different. Maybe it’s something that is important and maybe we should pick up on this.” And so boosted content is then more effective in the afternoon and least effective in the morning.
The researchers confirmed that companies don’t necessarily need to keep pumping up their ads budgets (including boosted posts) to increase profits. It could potentially be as easy as rearranging posts to match content preferences of target audiences. But if you’re just starting out or you’re managing multiple pages on Facebook, the reality is that you have to look at what’s happening with your ads, your boosted posts and content on your website. Each industry and business will have different results (keep in mind this study was based on media companies.)
At the end of the day, remember that knowing your audience is most important. What do they expect from you? What’s the intent of them visiting you? All of these things factor in to how receptive they are to what you’re doing, what you’re sharing, and how much engagement occurs. And so there’s a little bit more to marketing successfully online than just this whole spray and pray method!
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