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How Does High Facebook Engagement Help Publishers?

Snowflakes are a classic example of symmetry.

We have been thinking about correlations a lot recently. Correlation a fascinating pattern of similarity that may lead people to imagine connections that do not exist in reality. Everybody knows correlation does not imply causation, and many of us are aware that the times when people drowned in pools correlate highly with the times when Nicholas Cage appeared in films. But when used in a proper context, correlation is a very clear and also intuitive way to show that a real correspondence exists. Facebook engagement, reach and traffic correlations are one such case.

We are sometimes asked how Facebook engagement (reactions, comments and shares) are translated into reach and traffic on the publisher’s site. The answer is easy, based on clear results from data.

High Facebook engagement means high Facebook reach. More engagement means more traffic to the publisher’s site.

Here are some results from case studies on Nordic general news publishers. The correlation is always positive.

First, the pattern of Facebook referral’s engagement is highly similar to how traffic flows to the site.


On the scale from -1 to 1, where -1 implies perfectly opposite directions and 1 perfect similarity, Facebook referrals’ and all traffic to the publishers’ site in our sample publisher’s traffic is as high as 0.8.


Second, also the correlation between Facebook engagement and reach is 0.4.

Facebook engagement and reach patterns are almost identical most places (look at the left side and most of the right side).  Facebook engagement was bit lower, although still symmetrical, for a couple of weeks’ period in August (to the right from the centre of the image).


Finally, Facebook referrals’ engagements’ and link clicks’ correlation is 0.2. The correlation is not as high as with reach, but the curves follow each other. The correlation decreases because there are also places where rises and drops go to opposite directions.

What does this mean?

Facebook engagement, reach and link click patterns reflect each other.

More engagement equals more reach, and more reach equals more clicks to the site.

These similarities also tell a new story of the importance of Facebook as a news platform.

Facebook is not only taking its toll on news publishing – it leads your readers to your content. It provides visibility and possibilities to build new forms of audience engagement, which can be very inspiring if you are curious to experiment new techniques in light of data.


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