Wildfire Data Shows Sizable Engagement Boost for Early Brand Adopters of Facebook Timeline

Biggest gains seen for brands with less than 1 million fans; “pinned” content such as photos and videos also shown to dramatically increase engagement

Redwood City, Calif. –  Wildfire, the global leader in social media marketing software, today shared results of an analysis of early brand adopters of Facebook’s Timeline, which launched on February 29, 2012. Wildfire’s research shows that for the majority of brands, the switch to Timeline had a very large, positive impact, with double-digit increases in metrics such as Likes Per Brand Post, Comments Per Brand Post and “People Talking about This” (PTAT). It also showed that the new layout boosted performance of rich-media content such as photos and videos.

Key findings include:

1. Brands with less than 1 million fans got a sizable boost from switching to Timelines.

For brands with less than one million fans, which represent about 85 percent of the company pages on Facebook, the effect on engagement of switching to Timelines was very positive. Likes Per Brand Post increased by 60 percent, Comments Per Brand Post increased by 40 percent and PTAT spiked by 67 percent.

A smaller increase in engagement was noted with brands sized between one to ten million fans. For these brands, Likes Per Brand Post increased by about 14 percent, and PTAT increased by nearly 29 percent. However, Comments Per Brand Post for this group actually decreased by about 17 percent.

The data showed that brands with more than 10 million fans actually saw decreases across all measures; however, the brands in this category were all participants in Facebook’s Timeline debut, which generated significant media attention and inflated engagement numbers for these brands at the time of the launch.

Despite the significant differences in engagement activity after the implementation of Timeline for brands, there was little change seen in Facebook Fan Growth Rate. Though Timeline is more engaging, the increased engagement doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in fan count. People are interacting with pages without becoming fans, and continue to be very selective about which brands they will publicly like.

2. Photo and video posts perform better in the new Timeline layout.

Prior to Timeline, status updates were the best ways to generate likes and comments, outperforming the next best post type by about 22 percent and 17 percent respectively, while video posts were the best way to generate shares, outperforming the next-best type of post by nearly 70 percent.

With the new visual structure of the Timeline, performance of photo and video posts increased significantly. This visual media has more screen real estate and is displayed very prominently – videos and photos posted to the Timeline attract more attention from users, and the engagement numbers reflect this. Photos are now tops when it comes to generating comments, outperforming the next-best post type by more than 8 percent. Video posts in the new Timeline layout now outperform the next-best post type at generating shares by 90 percent.

3. Pinned posts may perform better than regular posts, with pinned photo posts performing best.

Brands can now opt to “pin” or “feature” content in their Timeline to give it more prominence, and since February 29, the brands Wildfire tracked generated 98 featured posts and 18 pinned posts, out of 2,228 posts analyzed. Although this is a small sample size, early indicators point to superior performance for pinned posts, but little change in performance for most types of featured posts. Wildfire’s preliminary findings suggest that brands could be more successful by pinning posts with greater frequency.

On a per-post basis, pinned posts performed better than regular posts, generating 39 percent more Likes, 6 percent more comments and 32 percent more shares than regular posts. Pinning a photo may boost engagement even more: on a per-post basis, pinned photo posts generated 44 percent more likes, 3 percent more comments and 63 percent more shares than regular photo posts.

Featured video posts were tops when it comes to generating shares – featured video posts outperformed any other type of featured or pinned content by 3.77x, and outperformed regular video posts by 2x.

“With the debut of Timelines for brands on February 29th, brands and marketers everywhere wondered whether the major changes to fan page functionality would cause noticeable differences in engagement activity,” said Jordan Drewitt, Director of Analytics at Wildfire. “Our analysis shows the new Timeline format offering significant opportunities for brands to boost engagement with their content and their pages.”

To download the report, please visit:


About the Wildfire Timeline for Brand Pages Study

Wildfire compiled a statistically significant analysis of 43 early-adopter brands of Facebook’s Timeline, looking to understand engagement statistics such as People Talking about This (PTAT), Likes per Page Post, Comments per Page Post, and Fan Growth Rate for brand pages of all sizes of a representative cross-section of brands that switched on day one. The brands were tracked over Jan 18 – Mar 23, 2012. 45 percent of the brands tracked had less than 1 million fans, 40 percent had between 1 million and 10 million fans, and the remaining 15 percent had greater than 10 million fans.

About Wildfire

Wildfire is the global leader in social media marketing software, with over 13,000 paying customers worldwide, including 30 of the world’s 50 most valuable brands. Wildfire’s Social Marketing Suite combines best-of-breed social promotion and advertising software, robust mobile and desktop page management, messaging and sophisticated real-time analytics in one complete platform. Wildfire’s powerful and intuitive software allows creative marketers and non-technical managers alike to create social campaigns and pages, communicate with their social audience and measure social media performance. Brands and agencies such as Facebook, Virgin, Amazon, Target and Ogilvy as well as thousands of small businesses use the Wildfire platform to engage with audiences on major social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. The only social media marketing company to receive an investment from Facebook’s fbFund, Wildfire has offices in California, Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Munich, and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.wildfireapp.com.

[cb type=”company”]wildfire[/cb]