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Retail brands that publish a small number of highly effective Facebook posts can generate nearly as much engagement volume as brands that rely on a quantity-driven approach, according to a recent report by Expion.

In the first half of 2013, Tiffany & Co. garnered the highest engagement ranking of any retailer—defined as fan actions per post—by focusing on relatively few but aspirational, high-quality, image-driven content. In contrast, Wal-Mart published more posts than any other retailer but generated far less engagement per post.

Overall, Tiffany & Co. had 5.3 million fan actions in the first half of 2013 and Wal-Mart had 11.8 million. However, Wal-Mart published nearly six times the number of posts in that time period.

Below, additional key findings from the study, which was based on an analysis of more than 16,000 Facebook posts from the top 50 US retail brands in the first half of 2013.

Engagement Trends

  • The first half of 2013 was the slowest growth period for retailers on Facebook since 2011.
  • Engagement and volume both declined, despite an increase in the number of posts published.

Images vs. Video

  • Despite increased video popularity on social media platforms such as Vine and Instagram, posts with images still dominated Facebook.
  • Images accounted for 80% of posts from retailers in 1H13, and video posts accounted for just 3%.

Engagement by Industry

  • By industry sector, luxury brands were the highest performing in total fan engagement—largely driven by captivating product images, often tied to pop culture.
  • Retail sectors such as drug stores, supermarkets, and small-format value, which depend on mass appeal, fell to the bottom of the list.

Posts by Time of Day

  • The period between 11 AM and 2 PM (ET) was the most popular time for retail brands to publish posts. It also had the highest number of top-performing posts.
  • 25% of all posts were published between 2 PM and 5 PM (ET). However, that period had only 19% of the top performing posts.

About the research: The report was based on an analysis of more than 16,000 Facebook posts published in the first half of 2013 by the top 50 retailers (as ranked in Interbrand's US Best Retail Brands 2013 Report).

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji