Some pages boost engagement with posts about Super Bowl: So what?

Facebook page posts about the Super Bowl garnered an engagement rate twice as high as posts unrelated to the game on Sunday, according to data from 70,000 posts from 1,400 of Buddy Media clients.

Social enterprise software company Buddy Media looked at the difference in average engagement rate between page posts that included Super Bowl keywords and those that didn’t. The company explained engagement rate as “total likes and comments as a percentage of the fan base.” It did not reveal what the average engagement rate was so it is difficult to say how meaningful the findings are and how page owners should adjust their strategies if at all.

Buddy Media also looked at page posts from a six-week period leading up to Sunday’s event and found that posts including Super Bowl keywords averaged 60 percent higher engagement rates than those without. The disparity was even greater on game day — Super Bowl related page posts had engagement rates 99.7 percent higher than unrelated posts. However, without knowing what the actual engagement rates are, these findings are not necessarily actionable for page owners. It is possible posts related to the Super Bowl had a 2 percent engagement rate and other posts had 1 percent.

Buddy Media did not indicate how engagement on Super Bowl Sunday compared to other days of the year. Super Bowl posts might outperform non Super Bowl posts on game day, but it’s unclear if that is more or less than the amount of engagement brands see on a typical day. [Update 2/7/12 3:03 p.m. – Buddy Media Communications VP Joe Ciarallo provided us with additional information about how non Super Bowl posts fared compared to normal engagement rates. Posts that did not contain Super Bowl keywords that were posted on Super Bowl Sunday performed 30 percent lower than average Sunday engagement for the past six Sundays. “So not only did they miss riding the “Super Bowl engagement wave,” it also damaged their normal rates of engagement.”]

Takeaways for page managers

A cursory look at Buddy Media’s findings might lead page owners to believe they should join the bandwagon of brands making posts about the latest news or events. Timely posts can lead to an increase in likes and comments, but brands should be wary of sacrificing vision and voice for what might be modest short-term gains.

Buddy Media and others interpret this study to suggest that more pages should have posted about the Super Bowl to boost engagement. This could lead some page owners to bad habits of co-opting cultural events in ways that are irrelevant to their businesses. Further, we would interpret the data another way — pages that did not have Super Bowl related content ought to have saved their posts for times when they would have less competition and would not have felt out of place.

Page owners should also be mindful of how the keywords they use will lead their posts to be grouped with others. When Facebook aggregates stories about the same topic, it can hide some posts under a “see more” link. Sometimes this allows older content to be resurfaced, but other times it prevents page posts from being seen at all.