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Facebook Reveals Its Most Popular Content Is… Spam

Meta has released a list of Facebook’s top-performing content during the second half of 2021.

In a somewhat awkward turn of events, in terms of content views and viewers, 30% of the top 20 most popular links resulted from spam or inauthentic behaviour.

The top two best-performing links came from the same website, with over 50 million views, before the posts were blocked for violating the Inauthentic Behaviour policy.

While the report focuses on the US for non-US readers, the report offers valuable insights into what content is performing best on the platform at the moment.

For example, most of the views in the US during Q1 2022 (83.8%) did not include a link to a source outside of Facebook.

For the 16.2% of views in posts that did include a link, they typically came from a Page the person followed (this includes posts which may also have had photos and videos, in addition to links).

In short, for content marketers, ixnay on the organic post links.

Admittedly, it is different for news publishers, but using Facebook organically to drive direct response seems to get more challenging with each passing year.

Links posts struggle while video soars  

News domains (e.g. DailyMail.co.uk) in the list accounted for only about 0.6% of all Feed content views.

Video presented strongly within the top five viewed domains, with YouTube coming out on top and TikTok coming in at number 4.

  1. youtube.com = 168.1M content views
  2. media1.tenor.co = 118.4M content views
  3. gofundme.com = 112.4M content views
  4. tiktok.com = 105M content views
  5. dailymail.co.uk = 86.2M content views

It’s interesting to note that video also dominated the top 10 most widely viewed posts.

There were eight on the list, with two memes rounding out the rest. Exploring further, video accounted for 15 of the top 20 performing posts. Memes made up the other five.

Most popular shares

Back to popular shares, YouTube, celebrity death news, Covid information and traditional news sites dominated. Two YouTube links accumulated around 45 million views, while a TMZ article on the death of Bob Saget earned 21.4 million viewers.

Following that, Covidtests.gov had 19.1 million, TikTok 17 million and news pieces on NBC News and BBC rounded out the top 10 with 16.1 million and 15.6 million views each.

All of that makes sense when you think about how video has slowly taken over the platform, especially now Meta is making a massive play with Reels.

The user social graph still dominates for now…

According to Meta, the most common experience in Feed for people in the US is to see posts without links from their friends or from Groups they’ve joined.

Meta Transparency Center, Q1 2022 report

“In Q1 2022, 85.3% of views came from posts shared by people’s friends, from Groups people had joined, or Pages they had followed.

Of the remaining 14.7% of Feed content views in the US during Q1 2022, 11.7% came from in Feed recommendations, which show people content from sources they are not connected to, but we think they might be interested in; we refer to this content as ‘unconnected posts’. The last 3% came from less common products, such as Events, and logging discrepancies.”

More recently, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed a significant change in direction for Facebook and Instagram, with algorithms slowly shifting away from users’ close connections and prioritising popular video content instead. Offering a potentially substantial upside for brands that regularly produce compelling video content beyond their immediate followers.

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO, April 2022

“There are two key trends that we’re seeing here: first, the increasing popularity of short-form video; and second, the advancement of AI recommendations driving more of our feeds rather than just social content

…The second point is that while we’re experiencing an increase in short-form video, we’re also seeing a major shift in feeds from being almost exclusively curated by your social graph or follow graph to now having more of your feed recommended by AI, even if the content wasn’t posted by a friend or someone you follow.

On that basis, in the subsequent Widely Viewed Content Reports that Meta will release ongoing, it will be interesting to see how this evolves as Meta looks to close its gaping video gap with YouTube and TikTok.

Learn with SMK W/C 4th July 2022

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