Monday
September 1, 2014

Study: Facebook Hashtags Virtually Worthless

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Study: Facebook Hashtags Virtually Worthless

Apparently, hashtags on Facebook are #notworking.

Following Twitter's lead, Facebook implemented hashtags in June. But new research shows that the hashtags are not effective in making Facebook content go viral.

Hashtags are clickable and deliver users to a search page for the hashtag term. It aims to drum up support from others who use the same hashtag and spread a user's messages. 

But according to EdgeRank Checker, a Facebook analytics service, Facebook hashtags are not effective in generating viral reach, hype, and exposure. EdgeRank Checker tracked 35,000 posts by 500 pages on Facebook to study the impact of hashtags. 

The researchers found that Facebook hashtags can actually have the opposite effect of its intention — less viral reach than posts without a hashtag. But don't swear off hashtags completely. When EdgeRank examined the effect of hashtags on Twitter, researchers found that tweets that include hashtags are twice as likely to be retweeted than those without. In fact, more than 70 percent of brands with a presence on Twitter experienced an increase in retweets when using a hashtag versus not using one, according to the study. 

So hashtags can work, but Facebook may not be the right environment for them. The researchers note that Facebook users just don’t seem to be clicking on them — or maybe companies aren’t using them correctly. Companies tend to use the same hashtag across all their promotional materials, but “by nature, campaigns are promotional, therefore more likely to drive less engagement, less clicks, and ultimately less reach," researchers say.

--By Melissa Dittmann Tracey for REALTOR(R) Magazine Daily News

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