Simple Research Study – Impact of Facebook Shares

CNN Shares and Likes Comparison - No Outliers

Introduction

Background

Most people presume Facebook shares increase post likes, but most people aren’t aware at what rate this occurs. For this study, we will analyze the impact a single Facebook  share has on a Facebook post. Data for this study was pulled from two news outlets and two universities via Facebook’s graph API, in order to analyze two different types of Facebook pages.

Hypothesis

The more shares a Facebook post receives, the greater the number of likes the post receives for a university and a news outlet.

Methodology

In order to have a representative sample, two data sets will be pulled from the same topic. For example, we will pull posts from two news outlets with 1,000 posts each.

About CNN

Name: CNN

Total Followers: 26,718,829

Total Posts Pulled: 1,024

Date Pulled: 4/24/2017 12:07pm (Raw Data)

About Fox News

Name: Fox News

Total Followers: 14,803,387

Total Posts Pulled: 1,000

Date Pulled: 4/24/2017 12:08pm (Raw Data)

About BYU-Idaho

Name: BYU-Idaho

Total Attended (Followers): 115,691

Total Posts Pulled: 1,000

Date Pulled: 4/24/2017 10:40pm (Raw Data)

About BYU

Name: BYU

Total Attended (Followers): 187,036

Total Posts Pulled: 1,000

Date Pulled: 4/24/2017 10:57pm (Raw Data)

Results

CNN

With the graph below, we can visually see when the number of shares increases on a CNN post, the number of ‘likes’ also increases. When analyzing data, it is important to remove the outliers which may skew the data set. In our case, we would remove the CNN posts with an abnormal amount of shares and likes, although the first graph below includes those outliers. The slope of this line is y=0.534112534x, or in other words, with the outliers we can see that a half of a like will occur for every share. 

CNN Shares and Likes Comparison

Here is the adjusted graph, with the outliers removed. As we can see, the slope changed quite a bit. In fact, the slope changed to y=1.560621648x. Or, in other words, without the outliers, we can see that ‘likes’ will increase by 1.6 for every share.

CNN Shares and Likes Comparison - No Outliers

Doing some rounding and removing of additional outliers, we can see that for CNN posts, for each share, the number of ‘likes’ increases by 2 ‘likes’ per share.

Fox News

With the graph below, we can visually see that the as the number of shares increases on a Fox News post, the number of likes increases. The slope of this line is y=1.9039739x, or in other words, with the outliers, we can see that nearly 2 likes will occur for every share.

FoxNews Shares and Likes Comparison

Here is the adjusted graph, with the removed outliers. The slope changed to y=2.145842823x, or in other words, without the outliers, we can see that ‘likes’ increased by 2.2 for every share.

FoxNews Shares and Likes Comparison - No Outliers

Doing some rounding and removing of additional outliers, we can see that for Fox News posts, for each share the number of ‘likes’ increased by 2.5 ‘likes’ per share.

BYU-Idaho

The next data set analyzed for this study was from BYU-Idaho’s Facebook page. As we can see below, there is still a positive correlation between Facebook shares and likes. The greater number of shares on a BYU-Idaho post directly impacts the number of ‘likes.’ The slope of this line is y=1.097088604x, or in other words, with the outliers, we can see that about 1 additional ‘like’ will occur for every share.

BYUI Shares and Likes Comparison

Here is the adjusted graph, with the removed outliers. The slope changed to y=1.91310826x, or in other words, without the outliers, we can see likes will increase by 1.9 for every share.

BYUI Shares and Likes Comparison - No Outliers

Doing some rounding and removing of additional outliers, we can see the following correlation for BYU-Idaho posts: For each share, the number of likes increases by 2.2 likes per share.

BYU

Like the previous 3 sample studies, the positive correlation of shares and likes is also consistent with BYU’s Facebook data as well. The greater number of shares on a BYU post, the greater number of likes increases. The slope of this line is y=0.754550225x, or in other words, with the outliers, we can see that about 3/4 of an additional like will occur for every share.

BYU Shares and Likes Comparison

Here is the adjusted graph, with the removed outliers. The slope changed to y=3.0082844x, or in other words, without the outliers, we can see that ‘likes’ will increase by 3 for every share.

BYU Shares and Likes Comparison - No Outliers

Doing some rounding and removing of additional outliers, we can see that for BYU posts, for each share, the number of likes increases by 4.2 likes per share.

Conclusion

Shares are indeed positively correlated with increased likes for university pages and news pages. While this may seem obvious, it was surprising to see how little impact a share can have in terms of increased likes. What I found is the impact of Facebook shares in relation to ‘likes’ depends on the Facebook page topic. Understanding the rate of increase of shares-to-likes on your business’ Facebook page, can greatly impact your future Facebook social media strategy.

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