The halfGenius Facebook Newsfeed Experiment

In 2016, marketers are all coping with the same anxiety, the significant drop in Facebook’s engagement rate. Cue the melodramatic pause: dun-dun-daaah. According to the marketing experts at Locowise, Facebook’s engagement rate for brands has dropped to an all time low 5.77% of followers reached per post. Their research shows an average page post only reaches 7.15% of the page’s total followers, concluding that only 0.41% of a page’s followers engage with a post on average.

That being said, brands relying heavily on their Facebook page’s organic reach will be left struggling to keep up with the remainder of businesses investing in paid-advertising. This conclusion sparked an important question at halfGenius: What’s showing up on an average user’s newsfeed and how does this drop in engagement affect businesses using both organic and paid-advertising?

With our curiosity peaked, we decided to take a look for ourselves and determine what a personal Facebook user’s newsfeed looked like for a business page.

The Experiment

The personal account put up to the test, follows many different types of brands in the Greater Philadelphia area, liking a total of 760 pages. They are very active on Facebook and enjoy spending time socializing on the social network. Our experiment took place at high noon, where we asked our subject – the Facebook user – to (1) spend 25 minutes scrolling through their newsfeed and (2) interact with posts, just as it were any other day.


  • Total: 41 Business Pages appeared on the subject’s newsfeed, which is a small 4% of the subject’s 760 liked pages.
  • Sponsored Pages: 13 of the Business Pages were sponsored posts and of these pages, 39% were already liked by the subject.
  • Liked Pages: 33 of the Business Pages were liked by the personal account and of these pages, 15% were sponsored posts.
  • Local Pages: 0 of the 41 Business Pages were posts by local businesses.
  • Interaction: (i) Clicked through 2 articles – Scanned through one and quickly bounced off the second, before reading any content. (ii) Watched 3 videos and shared 1 video containing a shout out for users to share with friends.


Our study provided us with a few valuable takeaways. One noteworthy insight from our experiment highlights the subject’s interaction with different types of posts. For example, the user happily ceased scrolling, to engage with multiple video posts.

HalfGenius, along with many other industry influencers, have forecasted that video is the way to go in 2016. Data doesn’t lie folks: “Videos don’t only get the highest reach but they’re also engaging 6.11% of the people reached. Photos engage 6.05% of the people reached. Status updates engage 4.04% and links engage 3.82%” (Locowise).

Did this article leave you feeling like the dramatic chipmunk? If any of this goes over your head, or you would some ideas on how to use social media to your brand’s advantage, don’t hesitate to reach out. We could talk engagement rate, bounce rate, and content strategy with you for hours, until we get hungry that is. Trust us, no one wants to chat with a hungry genius.

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