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Facebook Posting via Apps Cuts Likes & Comments by 88%

Does posting to Facebook via third-party apps make any difference on the number of ‘Likes” and/or comments your posts receive? What about Facebook’s algorithm? Does the algorithm discriminate or suppress content management applications?

The Facebook Posting Test

The creators of Edgerank Checker, Applum, decided to try and find out by reviewing more than a million Facebook updates across 50,000+ Pages. The goal? To test the theory that posting to Facebook via third-party apps will not generate as much engagement compared to posting directly on Facebook.

The Results

Applum’s test results showed that posting via one of the top ten third-party APIs resulted in an average decrease of 88% fewer comments and likes when compared to posting to Facebook directly.

Why the Decrease?

Applum speculates that Facebook penalizes third-party apps within its complex algorithm. As you may have also noticed, some third-party Facebook updates are condensed into a single News Feed story.

This condensing action alone eliminates opportunities for the impressions and engagement you would normally get on separate posts.

Something else to consider is the simple fact Facebook users can decide to block all updates from any third-party app – which I know I have certainly done in the past.

Is the Content to Blame?

What about the content itself? Many posts generated via third-party apps tend to be scheduled or automated. This can certainly lead to weaker engagement as the content tends to be off-topic or poorly timed. Even worse, content from third-party apps is often not optimized for Facebook. For example, Twitter posts (which is arguably the most popular of third-party apps) do not normally include links with descriptions and thumbnails.

So is Facebook deliberately downgrading third-party apps? A Facebook spokesman told Mashable,

“We’re focused on ensuring that users see the highest quality stories in News Feed. As part of this, related stories are typically aggregated so users can see a consolidated view of stories from one app. In some cases, we work closely with trusted partners, such as Preferred Developer Consultants, to test new ways of surfacing stories, and gather feedback to improve the Platform experience.”

What have your experiences been? Do you work hard to post to Facebook yourself or do you use third-party apps? Will you be changing your strategy based on any of this data?

Privacy-Per-Post: Facebook's New Privacy Settings

Today Facebook is rolling out a new set of more granular privacy controls to its 350 million members. Founder Mark Zuckerberg already announced the changes on December 1, but today they are going into effect.

Members will now be able to choose exactly who they share status updates, photos, videos, or any other piece of content posted on Facebook. The options include: “Friends, Friends of Friends, Everyone and Customized.” As part of this change, Facebook is killing off regional networks such as “New York” or “Silicon Valley,” which are too big and meaningless anyway.

These customized options will allow Facebook members to create Friends Lists so that you can share new baby photos with family, inappropriate YouTube videos with only your college buddies, or your latest professional news with your business friends. Overall, Facebook is simplifying its privacy settings to make them less confusing.

Giving users the ability to select privacy settings on the fly should encourage more people to select “everyone” as the default for much of what they share on Facebook. This really begins to open up the data that is made public and provides even more opportunity for Facebook search.