Facebook Hashtags Have No Effect on Viral Reach

Facebook introduced hashtags with much fanfare in June this year. Hashtags symbolized by the sign #, helps people find posts related common topics. All you have to do is click on the hashtag to link to other mentions of the word. We had anticipated that this feature would evolve into a good marketing tool soon. However, a recent study by EdgeRank Checker reveals that the Facebook hashtags have no impact on viral reach – the number of individuals who interacted with a particular post through liking, commenting, or sharing on the hashtag – and offer no additional online exposure. The study analyzed more than 500 Pages posted on Facebook during the month of July with and without hashtags.

While examining viral reach per fan, it was found that the posts without hashtags got an average viral reach of 1.30% compared to 0.8% for posts with hashtags.

Median Viral Reach / Fan Hashtags vs No Hashtags

Posts with hashtags are seen to have less online exposure than posts without hashtags.

It would seem that very large pages can induce a hike in viral reach as there will be selection process to determine which brand is going to display on clicking a hashtag, but viral reach was again lower when hashtags were not used. The result was same while analyzing viral reach per fan size – using a hashtag did not enhance online exposure.

Viral Reach Hashtags vs No Hashtags

The survey also looked at Twitter data (roughly 50 Twitter accounts from the Fortune 500) to look into the impact of Twitter hashtags. It was found that more than 70% of brands using hashtags saw an increase in RT (Retweets) compared to those that did not.

Twitter RT's / Followers

This shows that hashtags are still a good means to improve business reach.

So, what’s the matter with hashtags? The EdgeRank Checker study says it could be that brands are not utilizing the hashtags the right way. They use hashtags promotional material and campaigns that are promotional are likely to receive less clicks and eventually less viral reach. So if you want to use Facebook hashtags to drive consumers engagement with your posts, stop them using as a promotional material. Use hashtags that are user-friendly and easy to understand as shown in the following example:

Facebook Hashtags

A professional SEO company can help you adhere to hashtag best practices to achieve your viral visibility goals.

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.