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An Unofficial (But Very Interesting) Facebook Post A/B Test

By | 07.30.14
An Unofficial (But Very Interesting) Facebook Post A/B Test

Illustration of hand with thumb up and downI have the unusual position of running the social presence of two brands that are similar in many ways: Superpages and DexKnows. And yet, our followers for each brand don’t always respond to the same type of content.

I had my thoughts on what sort of content our Facebook followers preferred for each brand, but I decided to stop making assumptions. Perhaps content I thought would be better received by one group of Facebook followers would be equally appreciated by the other. So I decided to conduct an A/B test.

Because I didn’t want to bore any followers who might overlap between both brands, I didn’t post identical content. Instead, I simulated the content to the best of my ability with these guidelines.

  • I posted at the same time for each brand.
  • While I never posted the exact same content with the same wording, I did post the same type of content. So, for example, I might post about travel on both sites one day and highlight a small business the next.
  • I tried to construct my sentences similarly. So if I wrote a question for one, I also wrote one for the other.

Of course, there’s always the chance that despite my efforts to promote similar content, one piece of content could be stronger than the other or worded in a more compelling manner or any number of things. That’s why this experiment is unofficial.

I’m going to use the Superpages Facebook page as my baseline and look at some of its top performers over a one-month period. Then we’ll take a look at the comparable DexKnows posts from the same day, and I’ll share how that post ranked among DexKnows posts during that one-month period.

As a small business owner, I encourage you to look at all the different facets of the posts I’m going to highlight to extract what might be useful to you as the Facebook manager of your page.

Superpages — Best Reach

Key components of this post: It’s an image that we shared from another source and highlights a current event. It’s also congratulatory. It reached 2,465 people.

Comparable DexKnows Post

Do you hear that whoosh noise? That’s me whiffing it with this post. This was our third lowest performer for the DexKnows properties for that one-month period.

Deduction: Our DexKnows followers are really not into soccer. (In fact, our DexKnows followers may not be into sports in general, but I’d like to do more sports-focused posts before concluding that.)

Superpages — (Second) Most Likes

Our soccer post was also our most-liked, so we’ll highlight our second top performer in this category.

Again, we have an uploaded image. This one centers on a holiday, and the message is primarily in the image.

Comparable DexKnows Post

All right, so a photo of a bulldog puppy on top of a bulldog dad may never be a fair comparison to nearly anything else. But I thought our DexKnows audience, who tends to like cute food items, would be into adorable tie cookies for Father’s Day.

I was wrong. So wrong. This post ranked 8th from the bottom for likes.

Superpages — Most Clicks

Instead of an uploaded image, we have a post here that centers on a piece of news about a small business. It had a total of 74 post clicks.

Comparable DexKnows Post

The connection between these two posts isn’t as overt as the others; however, they’re similar in that they’re both highlighting a small business: one a restaurant, another a furnishing store. Of the  posts we’ve highlighted here, this is the only pair whose performance might be deemed similar. This post received the fourth most clicks for DexKnows.

And just to give you one more means of comparison, we’ll highlight one DexKnows top performer.

DexKnows — Best Reach

Here we have a link that’s highlighting seasonal content, as now is the season for travel. It also likely taps into a fear that many of us have. It had a reach of 487.

Comparable Superpages Post

This post focused on a different aspect of air travel: Selecting a seat. And the post performed similarly well for Superpages as it was ranked fourth for reach.

With this, I can move forward with more in-depth knowledge of how my audiences are similar and how they are different. And while you may not manage two similarly minded brands, you can still conduct experiments of your own. Try out informative pieces versus visual pieces versus current event pieces. Try one type of content on different days and at different times to see if the response differs. For example, I’ve noticed our DexKnows audience seems to appreciate home-related content on weekends, when they are, in fact, at home.

And by all means, come back here and report your findings. We’d love to hear them!

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  • Judging by the example posts shown here, SuperPages just has better FB posts than DexKnows does. While I found DK’s informative post to be more interesting than SP’s, the graphics on the SP posts were more eye-catching and evoked better emotional messages than those used by DK. Perhaps DexKnows needs to use a more critical eye when choosing graphic content to share.

    Is there by chance a more comprehensive summary of your unoffical study available to be read?

    • Christine Landry

      Thanks for weighing in, Kelly! What you’re detecting is true — but partly due to catering to a crowd. Because I know Superpages has a stronger response to imagery than DexKnows, they tend to get the better images that come along. (Alas, there’s always one image that’s stronger than the other.) DexKnows, on the other hand, favors information, so I tend to post the strong informational pieces to DexKnows.

      I’m attempting to continue my experiment in a different vein. I’m selecting old (but still relevant) posts that performed well on one platform and am posting it to the other to see if/how the response might vary. Today, in fact, I posted on DexKnows an image that the Superpages crew went crazy, but the DexKnows crew seems really, really unmoved by it.

      If I think those findings are worth sharing, I’ll write about them too. But for now, this post is all I’ve written on the topic. Thank you for your interest!

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