Study Shows When Facebook Users Are Most Active

By Rob McNair

A new Facebook user study from Vitrue reveals when Facebook users are most active giving marketers a better idea of when to target the highest amount of users

Facebook has changed online marketing forever; marketers now have the ability to engage with customers in real time focus groups and gauge reactions in minutes rather than waiting for focus group studies to be compiled.
Last week, social media management company Vitrue released a comprehensive, nearly 3-year long study identifying the days and hours Facebook users are most active on company and brand sites. From August 10, 2007 to October 10, 2010, they examined over 1.64 million posts and 7.56 million comments on more than 1,500 brand streams. “Likes” and “shares” were excluded from consideration.

Some interesting trends emerged:

Morning posts perform better.

Most brands tend to lean their posts towards midday, although it is the morning posts that gain more engagement through comments. User engagement for these morning posts is 39.7% higher than afternoon posts.

Does this mean brands are better served front loading all their posts? Not necessarily; a flood of morning posts might overwhelm users, reduce visibility, and lower interaction.

Users are more active at the top of the hour.

Posts made in the top of the hour (:0 to :15 minutes) garnered more user interaction than posts made in other parts of the hour.

At the top of the hour, it’s a fresh start.

The graph shows that users are most active when the minute hand strikes twelve, they probably set themselves a procrastination schedule at work, to which they time their working habits, something like, “It’s 3 o’clock, I’ll just check Facebook and then get back to work”. This is also reflected in the sharp drop off in activity at weekends, showing that people want to relax, take a walk or do nothing.

Usage spikes occur pretty reliably on weekdays at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, and 8:00 PM ET.

This is priceless information for brands, but we might want to think twice about jumping on the morning band wagon; a more populated newsfeed means more competition, and just because there are more users online doesn’t mean that the users you are trying to reach will be online – If you are trying to gain awareness for a sleeping medication then you would target users late at night, right?

Now a comprehensive study has been completed and been made public will you change your posting habits? Or do different demographics have different usage patterns, warranting a bespoke posting schedule for each audience? We’d love to hear your comments below.

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.