Pictures draw the most engagement on Facebook

May 16, 2012


Zuckerberg's chart isn't showing increased user engagement with Facebook photos. But it could be (Image credit:


Sooner than you think, anyone who has $500,000 lying around will be able to take a commercial trip to Mars. Can you imagine that? As my friend Eric Morgensten hinted at…I wonder what the in-flight drinks will cost.

No, this is not a post about space travel. But yes, you would had to have been living on Mars over the past six months to have missed the talk about 2012 as the year of visual storytelling. See what I did there? Still, sometimes it helps to have some numbers to back up the hype.

I was thinking just that the other day while working on a presentation. So I went in search of some numbers. And I started with Facebook, since that’s where the visual trend began — last summer at F8 to be exact. Because that’s where the decision to make images bigger on Facebook was first announced. And Facebook really does set the tone for the Internet these days…whether we like it or not.

Back to the numbers. There are a couple of studies I want to share with you. The first is from Web Liquid, a study of 16 brands with 3.5 million fans. They compared four types of Facebook content to see which one drew the most interactions. The result: Photos received the most engagement. And photos and videos both drew more than double the interaction that links did. The chart below provides more detail.







The second study is from Momentus Media and also tracked Facebook engagement and interaction — analyzed 20,000 Facebook business/brand pages and analyzed tens/hundreds of thousands of Facebook posts. The results here might sound familiar: Photos received almost two times the interaction videos did. And links received the least amount of engagement. The only difference in this study was that text status posts saw more engagement than video. See the graph below.






After reading these two studies, I did one of my own on my personal status updates. I posted a series of photos, links and text updates over a week and then checked the levels of engagement. Seven photo posts and seven link, video or text posts. The final results were about as close as the tortoise’s and hare’s race would have been if the hare hadn’t been such a smartass.

Eighty-four interactions with the photo posts. Thirty-nine interactions with the other posts. More than two times the amount of interactions on the images.

Nuff said. I’d say this “year of visual storytelling” thing has some legs. Quite a bit more legs than any of us heading to Mars on a commercial flight anytime soon.

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HeidiCohen 13 pts

Justin--Thank you for collecting this data. It's no surprise photographs are most engaging item on Facebook since they're easy. (Photos are the number 2 activity on smartphones after text messages.) Further, no writing is needed and they often involve multiple people. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

JGoldsborough 250 pts moderator

 HeidiCohen Thanks for stopping by and sharing that smartphones stat. It's a good one. Photos are definitely easier to digest, which gives them a distinct advantage.