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Top 5 Performing Types of Content on Social Media

Today, getting good “buzz” on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn is an important part of making sure your digital marketing is read – and shared. Part of making sure your content gets the attention it deserves is knowing what kind of content your audience enjoys (and shares) most and when they're most likely to be receptive of your content. After all, most of us have peaks and valleys during the day, and if you release social content when your target audience is most likely to be engaged in work – or at lunch – you may find your efforts falling short.

So how do you crack the what-and-when code? Lucky for you, marketing players Fractl and BuzzStream recently released results of a survey that can help answer those questions. The survey looked at 220,000 articles from 11 verticals published over a six-month period in 2014. here's what they found:

Basic Types of Content

The most popular types of content can be divided into five categories, ranked here by order of the amount of “social traction” - i.e., sharing – they received:

  • Lists (22.45 percent), which are pretty much what they sound like; you'll recognize them from titles like “Top X Ways to ...” or “X Things to Know About...”

  • “Why” posts (22.32 percent), designed to offer an answer to a question or concern that's of interest to the target audience (as well as provide information that supports that answer)

  • Videos (18.94 percent), which – obviously – offer a video representation of a topic or idea (FYI, videos performed better in the last quarter of the study, from September through November)

  • How-to posts (18.42 percent), focusing on the steps needed to solve a problem

  • “What” posts (17.88 percent), which usually offer more in-depth information about a topic, review an article or compare products

Both lists and “why” posts garnered an average of 21,000 shares per month, give or take about 500 shares. “What” posts not only ranked the lowest in terms of popularity, their rate of sharing was also the most variable at 13.45 percent.

Vertical Performance

Understanding how post types perform in different verticals is also important to determining what type of content to focus on. In this study:

  • How-to posts performed best in the automotive and food industries, where “seeing” is an important part of understanding the topic.

  • Technology posts were shared most often toward year-end, when consumers were looking for the best gadgets for gift-giving.

  • Thanks to summer vacation, the education vertical suffered most in July, dropping to only 10.57 percent of shares.

  • October was the best month for sharing for all content types.

Of course, knowing broad trends is important for developing an effective marketing strategy. But when it comes to knowing what performs well with your target audience, there's no substitute for thorough tracking and analysis. Take the time to mine the data and analyze it, and you'll have the powerful tools you need to create your most effective marketing campaign ever.


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Anne Balistreri
Post by Anne Balistreri
February 5, 2015