Offbeat Bride Facebook survey results

offbeatbride-facebookI did two small surveys last week, and while I'll be sharing the results of the Offbeat Home & Life survey on offbeathome.com tomorrow, I thought I'd take a quick minute to share the results of the survey I did about Offbeat Bride's Facebook page.

First, lemme give you some context on this survey: I've talked a LOT about my conflicted feelings about Facebook, but things have changed over the course of this year as I've been shifting my thinking about recency vs relevancy.

Also, the recent performance of Offbeat Families' Facebook page has pretty much blown my mind.

Moral of the story: my contentious publisher relationship with Facebook is shifting, and I conducted this survey to help me confirm some hunches.

Let's see how it played out…

How do you feel about the frequency of posts on Offbeat Bride's Facebook page?

frequency of posts

This first question is pretty straight-forward and suggests that Facebook's algorithms are mostly working. If you feel like we're posting "just the right amount," that means that Facebook is showing you just the right number of posts. It's not actually all that reflective of how much we're posting — it's how many posts you're seeing. For 83% of you, Facebook is doing a good job of showing you an amount that feels good.

If you're part of that 9% who wishes you saw more from us on Facebook, I suggest you engage with every single Offbeat Bride post you see on Facebook, which means liking, clicking, sharing, or commenting. Given Facebook's algorithms, engaging with a page's posts is the only reliable way to ensure you'll see more of them.

Rank your favorite kinds of Offbeat Bride Facebook posts, from your favorite to your least favorite.

favorite kinds of posts

No real surprises here. I made a point to have Polldaddy list the options randomly, but this is exactly the order I expected to see — and pretty much exactly matches what we're currently doing. Right on.

How do you feel about the comments on Offbeat Bride's Facebook page?

feel about the comments

Oh, Facebook comments. I cannot tell a lie, you guys: of all our feedback/support channels (email, blog comments, Twitter, FIX TYPO submissions, etc), the comments on Facebook are consistently the least informed and most challenging. I suspect this is because lots of folks who follow us on Facebook are unfamiliar with the Offbeat Empire and its culture (more about that in a second)… but regardless, it's good to know that only 3% of you have witnessed the weird and gross comments that show up on our Facebook posts. We try to catch them quickly, but even Offbeat Empresses have to sleep sometimes… and you guys, the weirdos on Facebook never sleep.

How often do you visit offbeatbride.com (the website, NOT the Offbeat Bride Facebook page)?

How often do you visit offbeatbride

As expected, about 15% of you very rarely visit the website itself. Some of this is readers who subscribe via RSS or our email newsletter, but also we know this to be true: most people on Facebook want to stay on Facebook. They mostly respond to post titles and thumbnails shown on Facebook. A relatively small percentage of followers will actually click through to read content on the website itself.

While this could create a significant business challenge, our Facebook page is monetized (SHAMELESS PLUG: Email us if you're interested in an oh-so-affordable sponsored social media blast!) so from a business perspective I'm not too worried about the loss in pageviews.

It does mean, however, that there are some significant cultural differences between how posts perform on Facebook vs how they perform on the blog. That includes comments: people who are willing to comment "TACKY!!1!!" on Facebook are WAY less likely to type their name and emails on the comment form of the blog. I think of it as a barrier to entry. That performance difference also means that pretty pictures and hooky/tantalizing titles perform better on Facebook — while more thoughtful posts do better on the blog.

When you see a link to an offbeatbride.com article from our Facebook, do you care when the post was originally published?

do you care when the post was originally published

Here's the question I was most interested in. Since we have a transient readership where the vast majority of the site's audience turns over every 18 months or so, I've been testing out how it feels to bubble up older posts via our Facebook page. They often perform better than the new posts, because as these results make clear: only 7% of you really just want to see new posts. (And to that 7% I say: I love you hard. Are you following the site via RSS or email newsletter? Because those are exactly designed for readers who want to exclusively follow new posts.) The vast majority of you don't care when a post was published — you just care if it's of interest to you right now.

Oh, and for the 8% of you aren't even sure how you'd know a post's original publication date, check the URL — you'll see the month and year in there! For example, http://offbeatbride.com/2010/03/unique-first-dance-songs was originally published in March 2010.

The recency vs relevancy results here completely support everything I've been learning about Facebook and content marketing this year, which is great news. This is definitely shifting my feelings about Facebook. I still find it a frustrating tool in more ways that I can count, but I'm starting to recognize that its algorithms do a great job of ensuring that our current followers see content that's interesting and relevant to them.

I know the survey didn't have an open form at the end, so if you have any questions or feedback, pour 'em into the comments below!

PS: I'll say this because if I don't, I know someone will ask in the comments: if you follow us on Facebook, the best way to support Offbeat Bride is to engage with both our Facebook posts (like! comment! share! click!) *AND* our blog posts (comment! share via email or other social media). To be clear, I don't expect that what's best for my business is ANYONE'S priority but mine, and I've always said that the best way to support the site is just to interact with our content in the ways that feel natural, but I know that some of you want to know, so there you go.

  1. I missed the survey on Facebook, but it looks like the thing I would have wanted to communicate wasn't an option anyway: I actually would prefer that newer posts not get published on the Facebook page. I know that's probably not an option, but I have an RSS subscription to the site, so I always mouse over the links on Facebook to see if they're ones I'm going to run into when I hit up my RSS feeds later, or if it's an older link that isn't going to be waiting for me in Feedly. If it's an older link, I'm ecstatic – it's something I might have never seen. If it's a link to today's post, I skip it entirely (from Facebook, anyway), knowing I'll see it that night in Feedly.

    3 agree
      • She's one of us! An old skool RSS chick not using Facebook as their blog reader. ๐Ÿ™‚

        8 agree
        • AMEN TO THIS!! But I'm mostly fascinated by the idea of someone wishing there was a channel to follow only older links.

          Do we need a, like, "best of OBB" email newsletter where we only email out links to awesome old posts?!

          9 agree
          • Is there anyway to have some thing like that for the weekend on the blog? Like a bare bones post with links to archived posts? (I am very ignorant in the ways of programming and computers so forgive me if that is a terrible idea. I figured there was magic code or something).

            1 agrees
          • I would really love that kind of an email newsletter. I like reading a lot of old posts because they're things I might have missed.

            4 agree
    • Exactly! I totally use the RSS feed versus FB. In fact, I don't I've even been to the FB site, I prefer the real site.

      1 agrees
  2. I'm an avid (long-term) reader of all the empire blogs (via RSS), but facebook in general makes my head want to explode. Since I'm never on there, I didn't take the survey, but wanted to pop-up on the relevancy vs. recency discussion. I love (love) having the new posts only via RSS, and it would really bug me if old posts suddenly appeared in my reader, however I follow OBB on pinterest (which doesn't cause the same brain malfunctions for me as facebook) and it's been fun to see old posts pop up there. If one is particularly appealing I click through and it's like re-reading a book from a long time ago- you realize you've read it before but it's still five minutes very well-spent!

    6 agree
    • I first started hearing feedback like this about a year ago, and am learning that lots of us have different priorities when we're browsing via social media vs reading via RSS.

      When you're using RSS, you want to follow the new stuff super closely. When you're using social media, it's a more casual, surfing experience. Expectations are set that you're just sorta clicking around gently, checking shit out, browsing and dabbling.

      So it's not even "RSS people want this, social media people want that" … rather, it's "the SAME PERSON wants this via RSS, and that via social media." Totally fascinating.

      5 agree
  3. The only time I care about when something is originally posted, is when I want to comment and see that comments have been closed. Seeing how spambots love old posts, I get why, but I do wish they'd reopen for a day or two after being "resurrected" for Facebook. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • 99% of Offbeat Bride posts have open comments, regardless of post date. I can think of perhaps a dozen posts total out of 4000+ that have closed comments… have you somehow managed to hit those few posts?

      Or maybe you're talking about Offbeat Families? If so, ALL comments are permanently closed on that site, as part of our publication cessation in September.

      1 agrees
  4. Aww geez I clicked through and got sucked into OB Bride (which I haven't really read since I got married.) WHY CAN'T I HAVE LIKE FIVE MORE WEDDINGS?

    4 agree
  5. I just do not understand the tendency for people to make rude comments on Facebook but not on the blog? On Facebook your real, full name, face, and identity are right THERE for all to see. On the blog, you can use a fake name and presumably a fake or hidden email address when commenting, and could troll your little heart away, right?

    At least for me, when I come upon a website that only allows comments using a Facebook ID, I run screaming. No way in H-E-L-L am I going to have my real identity tied to a comment, benign or not, for eternity. That shit shows up in Google searches eventually! That's just my way of saying, please, don't ever turn the blog comments into Facebook IDs only!

    4 agree
    • In my experience, the people who leave rude comments on Facebook are not tech-savvy enough to consider the privacy implications.

      Last month, a Facebook follower left a FB comment asking detailed advice about how to exclude her future step-daughter from her wedding. I cautioned that she may want to reconsider posting the comment on a public page, and she snapped at me that her step-daughter would never see it. (…But what about her fiance? Or the child's mother?)

      Uh, ok then. Let me know how that works out for you: http://offbeatempire.com/2012/01/oversharing

      4 agree
      • The lack of tech-savvy on Facebook especially, but also on the larger internet besides my geek-based corner, astonishes me me every time I hit it. PUBLIC ON THE INTERNET MEANS PUBLIC ON THE INTERNET. People can google your email! Advertisers know who you are because cookies follow you!

        I swear to god I want to make everyone watch this Craig Ferguson sketch before they submit a comment anywhere.

        • Yeah, I recently got an email sent via the Offbeat Empire contact form that just said "Fuck you." But you know how gmail shows you the picture associated with a particular address? The address was totally legit, and so the message came from a very nice looking young woman who was totally smiling sweetly in her account picture. I was like…. Uh. At least use a fake email address or something when you're telling me to fuck off? It was very odd.

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