Go Figure: Dollars Off Better Than Percent Off, And Wednesday Post Best

According to a recently posted statistical review, by Buddy Media, 89% of retail brand Posts are published at times when users are traditionally the most "busy," between 8 AM and 7 PM (ET). During "non-busy" hours though, Facebook fans likely have more time to focus on brands' status updates, as the data shows Facebook fans are 20% more likely to engage with retail brand Posts made between 8 PM and 7 AM.

In an analysis of user engagement of Facebook Wall Posts from nearly 100 of the world's largest and most prestigious retail brands during a six month period from January 1 through June 30, 2011, three primary success metrics were reviewed. ‘Like' Rate: number of ‘likes' as a percentage of fan base; Comment Rate: number of Comments as a percentage of fan base; and Engagement Rate: a combination of the above factoring in fan base size.

The data reveals that Facebook user engagement varies over the course of a week, and that the retail industry is not keeping pace with their fans' Facebook preferences, says the report.  While retail brands tend to post on Facebook evenly throughout the workweek and less frequently on the weekend, user engagement with posts spikes on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The report says that, overall, Wednesday is the best day for retail brands to post on Facebook, while Friday is the worst day. On "hump day," fans engage with Facebook Post content 8% above average. In addition, retail fans tend to engage more with Posts made outside of traditional workdays. While posting on weekends may be challenging for brands not using a publisher tool, brands can leverage weekend Posts to connect with fans when their competition is not.

Facebook user engagement decreases as the frequency of retail brand Posts increases during a given day, says the report. Overall, engagement rates are 40% higher when there are less than three Posts a day from a given brand. One or two retail brand Posts receive 32% higher ‘like' rates and 73% higher Comment rates. Users tend to engage with one or two Posts a day, so make less frequent, higher quality Posts is the conclusion of the report.

Posting one to two times per day produces 40% higher user engagement for retailers studied. And, Posting one to four times a week produces 71% higher user engagement than five or more Posts in a given week for retail brands, says the report.

The report says that there is a strong negative correlation between Post length and engagement for the retail industry: the longer the Post length, the less engaging fans find it. Concise copy increases readablity and consumption.

Retail brand Posts less than 80 characters in length receive 66% higher engagement than longer Posts. Very concise Posts, those between one and 40 characters, generate the highest engagement. Only 5% of all retail brand Wall Posts are less than 40 characters in length, even though these receive 86% higher fan engagement.

Although retail brand Wall Posts containing questions receive slightly lower overall user engagement (‘likes' and Comments), this type of Post generates more than double the amount of Comments as "non-question" Posts.

The top ten sales keywords were analyzed to determine which receive the most user engagement. The data indicates that retail brand Posts containing the sales keywords "$ off" and "coupon" receive a 55% higher user engagement rate, followed by Posts containing the word "coupon," which is 39% above the average. Popular sales keywords, such as "sale" and "% off," receive the lowest fan engagement.

Fans engage well with coupons, but the analysis indicates that "$ off" offers generate twice the engagement of "% off" offers for the retail industry. Even small "$ off" discounts, less than $10, receive 17% higher engagement than "% off" promotions, showing that fans prefer tangible cash discounts, even if the actual dollar discount is small.

While interesting content can be added to Wall Posts in the form of links, photos and videos, simple Posts achieve the most engagement for the retail industry, says the report. The two most effective types of retail brand Posts contain a single photo attachment or use only words. Posts only containing words receive 94% higher engagement than average. Avoid more complicated Posts, such as those with attached links and thumbnail photos.

To access the PDF file of the Study, please visit here.

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2 comments about "Go Figure: Dollars Off Better Than Percent Off, And Wednesday Post Best".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , October 3, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.

    Americans are what 17th among industrial nations in math? How many can't do percentages but can twit and FB like crazy is not something for which to show pride.

  2. Chip Simons from Ron Sherman Advertising , October 4, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.

    I don't think that it is an inability to 'do percentages.' A lot of people (in many countries) consider a percentage off to be a false discount because they assume the product was over-priced from the start. With real physical dollars off, the impression is one of tangibility and therefore true discount. It's just cynicism, not necessarily a lack of education.