“Ghost town” is a phrase that’s been tossed around when describing the apparent low activity levels on Google+, but a new study suggests that it could also apply to business activity using Facebook Pages.
Recommend.ly, a social media tools/analytics company that we’ve covered before when it looked at Wal-Mart’s Facebook Page strategy, is now out with a wider study that looks at overall Facebook Page activity … and it isn’t pretty.
In October, the company examined more than 5.7 million Facebook Pages with at least 10 “Likes”, and used a subset of about three million Pages to dig deeper into specific category activity.
Recommend.ly found that 70 percent of the Pages it studied aren’t actively posting, with Pages in the Community, Company and Public Figure categories especially inactive.
That chart shows how many posts per month Page owners are making across different categories during the October study. The chart below also looks at posting activity by category, but compare the average posts made between March and October. As you can see, posting activity is down in every category except “Local business.”
Page inactivity is also shown in engagement rates and the use (or lack thereof) of cover images. Recommend.ly says 64 percent of Pages have no cover photo and 83 percent never participated in conversations on their Pages.
The study also found that Business category Pages have seen a significant drop in average fan count — from 6,400 fans per Page in March to 3,233 fans per Page in October.
It all begs the obvious question: Why is Facebook Page activity declining like this?
Recommend.ly mentions that the full rollout of Timeline this spring may be to blame. And there’s also Facebook’s move to what we’ve called paid organification — i.e., the need for brands to spend money to get more eyeballs to see their “free” (organic) posts and status updates.
There’s been a lot of debate in recents weeks/months about whether Facebook is purposely making brand/business content less visible in fans’ News Feeds. That debate continues, but one thing is clear: Facebook is pushing a lot of paid content in the News Feed. That may be a serious turn-off, particularly for the small business owner that Facebook is eager to reach.