Study: Facebook Timeline has increased user engagement by 13 percent


A new study shows that Facebook's Timeline has extended the average lifetime of a post and led to more engagement.

The research company Sotrender analyzed about 5,000 Facebook posts from 130 of the biggest U.K. company profiles before and after they began using the Timeline format.

Before the companies adopted Facebook's Timeline, Sotrender found, 50 percent of user comments were posted in less than an hour. Now, that time has increased to two hours and 30 minutes. Eighty percent of all comments are now made within eight hours and 30 minutes -- two hours longer than before.

Sotender also found that Facebook's Timeline has increased engagement by 13 percent. Previously, posts "triggered the activity" of 158 fans on average; now they engage 179 fans.

While more fans are responding to companies' Facebook posts, the average engagement per user hasn't increased. Sotrender didn't find any changes in the following metrics:

  • Average number of comments, likes and posts per active user
  • Content type distribution
  • Cross-page engagement
  • Average response (comments and likes) per post
  • Percent of engaged users per fanpage
  • Page posts per day

When Facebook rolled out Timeline to brand pages, my colleague Jeff Sonderman said "the flashy visual template adds too little style while removing too much substance." He pointed out, though, that the Timeline format is good for news organizations that want to assemble chronologies of themselves and their reporting. Recently, The Wall Street Journal began using Timeline to tell the story of Facebook's IPO.

Related: WSJ social media editor Brian Aguilar explains why they’re using Facebook timeline for this project (Elana Zak/10,000 Words) | Research shows that people engage with Facebook posts relevant to the brand posting it (Ad Age)

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website,, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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