Facebook Live: Is it Worth the Effort Compared to Other Post Types?

Wednesday 11 October • By

Scott Ayres - Social Media Lab

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Facebook Live is All the Rage!

Pretty much every marketer you listen to is telling us that Facebook Live is a necessity in today’s Facebook marketing strategy.

Folks like Mari Smith, Brian Fanzo, and Joel Comm have completely immersed themselves in live video — on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope.

Does that mean you should too?

Is live video worth the effort for all the magic these marketers talk about?

That’s what I wanted to find out in this test.

I’ll be examining the Facebook Reach of posts with:

  • Facebook live video
  • Recorded video
  • Photo
  • Link post

Hypothesis: A post with a Facebook Live broadcast will not have more Reach than an uploaded video post, but higher Reach than a Photo or Link post.

Facebook Live Hypothesis

Plan of Attack

To tackle this Facebook Live Reach question, I’ll use my Fans of Bigfoot Facebook page.

It’s a page with currently just over 4000 Likes and has been active for over 3 years.

fans of bigfoot

It’s somewhat of an “entertainment” page where I post funny pictures of the Bigfoot character. But I also post news and links to affiliate products related to Bigfoot.

For this test, I went live on Facebook to show off a really neat Bigfoot related gift my wife got me for my birthday. I had never gone live on this page before. You can view it  by clicking the image below.

facebook live video

I did the live video more out of excitement about the gift than anything, but I noticed people were responding so then I decided to do this test!

In the video, I mentioned a bit.ly link and went back afterwards and put that bit.ly in the description of the video.

The next day, I posted simply a picture of the product with the bit.ly link in the caption:

The following day, I posted a link post — using the same bit.ly link — to the page:

And on the fourth day of this experiment, I uploaded a pre-recorded video showing off the product and mentioning the same bit.ly link:

The Results

I let the post sit for about 2 weeks before gathering the data to ensure all of the organic Reach possible had happened for each post.

Here is how each post performed based on organic Reach:

Facebook Live Organic Reach

  • Link Post: 116
  • Uploaded Video: 1148
  • Live Video: 1550
  • Photo: 1567

Facebook Live video had a 35% higher Reach than the uploaded video, yet had about a 1% lower Reach than a Photo post.

When it came to Shares, here’s how each post type fared:

Facebook Live Shares

  • Link post: 0
  • Photo: 4
  • Uploaded Video: 4
  • Live Video: 7

This means Facebook Live Video had 75% more shares than Photos or Uploaded Video, and Link post failed miserably..

Here’s how many Reactions (Like, Love, Haha, Wow, etc) each post type received:

Facebook Live Reactions

  • Link: 0
  • Uploaded Video: 16
  • Photo: 17
  • Live Video: 37

Facebook Live video crushed it with 118% more Reactions than the uploaded video!

When it came to Comments, this is what the data showed us:

Facebook Live Comments

  • Link: 0
  • Uploaded Video: 2
  • Live Video: 5
  • Photo: 7

Photos outperformed every post type.

The last stat to compare for all 4 post types is Link Clicks:

Facebook Live Clicks

  • Live Video: 0
  • Uploaded Video: 1
  • Link post: 2
  • Photo: 5

Very surprising results here.

Photos crushed the other post types when it comes to Link Clicks — 67% more clicks than the other 3 post types combined.

One last interesting set of stats to share before we draw a conclusion is the Video Performance.

For the Facebook Live Video we see these stats:

  • Minutes Viewed: 121
  • Video Views: 516
  • 10-Second Views: 149
  • Video Average Watch Time: 7 seconds (the video was 2 minutes 48 seconds long)
  • Peak Live Viewers: 3

Here are the similar stats for the Uploaded Video (minus the Peak Live Viewers):

  • Minutes Viewed: 82
  • Video Views: 272
  • 10-Second Views: 111
  • Video Average Watch Time: 9 seconds (the video was 2 minutes 17 seconds long)

Conclusion

After digging through all of this was my hypothesis correct?

As a reminder it was: Facebook Live will not have more Reach than an uploaded video, but higher Reach than a Photo or Link post.

I was partly correct as Facebook Live video had higher Reach than a link post but wrong in the fact that the Photo post had higher Reach and the uploaded video had lower Reach.

So what actionable takeaways do we get from this data?

  1. The data says  Link posts still suck when it comes to Facebook Reach! Unless you’re a news site or all you have are links to post I’d drop them completely. I know I am for this page.
  2. Photos got more Comments, Link Clicks and higher Reach so are still a must for businesses to post — and are much easier to create than recorded or Live videos.
  3. Facebook Live videos got more Shares and Reactions, which exposed my page to more people that hadn’t already Liked it and was great to see how the viewers enjoyed the content.
  4. Don’t be afraid of Facebook Live videos, but it’s not the end all to the highest Reach and Engagement possible on Facebook.
  5. Fancy equipment isn’t needed to go Live on Facebook — just use your phone and go with it. Which is what I did on this experiment. Just using my handy Samsung phone!
  6. People didn’t turn the sound on for my videos, so I would need to make it more compelling and obvious they needed the sound on for future videos.
  7. Make your offer within the 1st 10 seconds or no one may see it.

This was a fun experiment to run to showcase the same product in different formats.

A few things before I let you go:

  1. One experiment of this size is not enough proof to categorically conclude that one post type is better than another across all of Facebook. But it’s a start.
  2. To test this again I’d love to post nothing but Facebook Live videos for a week on a page, then do the same the next week with recorded video, then photos, then links. So that there was more data to pull from.
  3. It would also be great to test results on multiple pages in this same manner.

I would challenge you to run similar tests on your page showcasing your product in different formats. Let me know what results you get from your own tests — especially with Facebook Live posts!

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