Facebook recently analyzed how the 100 top media sites are using its social plugins, as well as the pages of several top media organizations and the stories they posted, including their content, types of status update, and time of day. Among the findings were that certain ways of implementing the new Like buttons, such as including thumbnails of friends, could result in 3-5x greater click-through rates.
Facebook’s Justin Osofsky outlines in more detail what Facebook found and best practices in 7 areas:
- Driving audience and traffic through implementing the Like button. Websites experienced 3-5x greater click-through rates on the Like button when they implemented the version that includes thumbnails of friends, enabled users to add comments (which 70% of top performing sites did), and placed the Like button at the top and bottom of articles and near visually exciting content like videos and graphics.
- Driving audience and traffic through Publishing to users through Pages and Like button connections. In our analysis of stories published by top media organizations, we found that (a) stories involving emotional topics, passionate debates, and important sports events have 2-3x the activity of other stories, (b) status updates which ask simple questions or encourage a user to Like the story have 2-3x the activity, and (c) stories published in the early morning or just before bedtime have higher engagement.
- Increasing engagement by implementing the Activity Feed and Recommendations social plugins. Sites that place plugins above the fold and on multiple pages receive more engagement. For instance, sites that placed the Activity Feed on both the front and content pages received 2-10x more clicks per user than sites with the plugins on the front page alone.
- Increasing engagement by using Live Stream for live events. The Live Stream box, as notably implemented by CNN for the Obama inauguration, can create engaging experiences on partner sites. For instance, during the World Cup, there were over 1.5 million status updates through the Live Stream box on media websites such as Univision, TF1, ESPN, Cuatro, RTVE, and Telecinco.
- Increasing engagement by creating timely pages. In addition to analyzing engagement on stories, we also examined the effect of creating focused sub-pages and found that they can have substantially higher engagement. For example, stories published from a World Cup-focused Page of one major media company had 5x the engagement rate per user than stories from the company’s main Page.
- Increasing engagement by using the search API to create highly engaging visualizations that draw on status updates from Facebook users who share their posts publicly. The New York Times created an engaging visualization around the World Cup which sized players based on the frequency of public status updates. Your site can do the same through any topic of your choice, and show the buzz around everything from news items to events to local debates.
- Seeing what’s working with Insights. Finally, media organizations can understand their customers better through Facebook Insights. For example, one major German news site found Insights to be particularly helpful when it was trying to engage a younger audience online. Insights helped them optimize and understand the activities that continued to engage this audience.
Below is a video of a recent presention from Osofsky about publishers can use Facebook’s technologies.