March 2011 research from link-sharing solutions provider Visibli found that among Facebook pages with at least 100,000 “likes,” engagement dropped as the number of fans increased. Each individual post by brands and media organizations received fewer “likes” as a proportion of the page’s fan base.
Similar data from social media engagement firm LoudDoor shows a more complex picture of how page size affects “likes” and comments per post. “Likes” increased with page size, except among pages with 2.5 million to 5 million users. On a per-user basis, “likes” began to decrease for pages with more than 100,000 fans, then rose again for pages with 1 million to 2.5 million followers. Larger pages had fewer “likes” per post per user, but the decrease did not correspond directly with page size.
Similarly, the number of comments per post increased with page fan base, with a few drops among pages with several million followers. The proportion of comments per user does go down with closer correlation to page size, but for both metrics there is a large drop-off when pages hit the 2.5 million fan mark.
Some of this effect could be difficult to avoid. Posts may still receive hundreds of comments, but the number of comments per user will inevitably be much lower when pages have millions of fans.
LoudDoor also noted that brands must be aware of the algorithms Facebook uses in determining which posts to present to which users in the newsfeed. The EdgeRank algorithm takes into account affinity with the content creator along with other factors. If page growth means that fans are becoming less similar to each other as more are added, and have less affinity for the brand, new posts may not even show up in their newsfeed—meaning they will never have the chance to engage with the brand there.
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