Team Locowise posted on 22 January 2014
The pursuit of the best time to post on Facebook is something that people never seem to tire writing about. Not a month goes by when there isn’t somebody making their best efforts to condense the countless variables that need to considered into a day and a time that will somehow have relevance to the 40 million plus pages spread over the world.
The fact is that every page will be different due to geographical location, subject matter and fan base demographics. There will not be one but multiple days and hours per page that will likely present better opportunities for engagement than the average.
Facebook introduced a “When Your Fans Are Online” in insights last year, that purported to assist in this area but in reality did little. The data is far too generic, with it being the number of fans of your page that saw any post on Facebook. We can all do better than that!
All the data is available, you just need to take the time to get it together and analyse it. One point to know is that you can only evaluate the effectiveness of a day or hour if you have actually utilised it before. Therefore, I would suggest a broad initial date range of maybe six months. Locowise does all of the following automatically as part of the tools but you could generate these yourself in spreadsheets.
This first method is calculated using the the daily activity of the page. Having started with up to six months worth of data, bring it down in stages and see what stays constant, all the way down to last week.
Daily % of Post Impressions + Unique Page Impressions + Unique Page Consumptions + PTAT + Page Stories + Engaged Users
This next method utilises historic post and page engagement. Start with a three month time frame and work down to a week to see what differences it throws up. For this page of 2.8 million fans, they have gained average engagement of between 148.7k and 200.8k per day over the 4 week period being analysed. We can certainly suggest that with Monday representing a 35% increase over Sunday, it is likely to present a better opportunity for increased engagement if we had the choice to post between these two days.
Drilling down, we can then take a look at what hours of the day we have been getting our engagement. It is important for pages that operate over multiple time zones to taken that into account. In the example about, I would want to validate the 9 am and midday number over a month by increasing posting in those time periods. This particular page posts prolifically, indeed, four times an hour is not unusual (news provider) and thus they have a robust dataset to work with. Early morning, 2 pm and in the 6-8 pm slots would present better hourly potential for this page.
Many people who do this analysis are shocked at the results as they find their assumptions to be nowhere near the mark. We wrote about this last year when Rippleffect and Everton FC performed an analysis with Locowise and were surprised to find out that match-day was not the optimal day for them. To gain that all important understanding, we must post on a larger variety of days and hours to build up the dataset that will allow us to move from opportunistic, hopeful post timing, to realistically being able to estimate the type of response we can expect to get back using a certain day or hour.
The reality is that there is no golden bullet for post optimisation. However, there are multiple opportunities to post into the period of a day that will likely produce better results than a random selection if we take the time to do the analysis. For Locowise customers it could not be easier, the Engagement and Optimise tools provide all of these features, with movement from a day to a year of data in a mouse click.