Facebook test: posting via 3rd party apps

When a few Facebook posts flopped (reach in the 10-30 range, when our average was in the 350s) on one of the accounts I manage (Seriously! a movie about play), we wondered what the heck happened.

My first guess was that our followers were interacting with Facebook later in the day than previously, and this made some sense as those flops were fairly early in the day. But after running a two week test┬áto see if posting later in the day would drive our numbers up, I found that although there are definitely certain times of the day that garner more interaction, just posting a few hours later overall didn’t explain the odd dips.

The movie’s director wondered if it had to do with the fact that I was using Hootsuite to post–a question that I myself wondered. It’s been suggested by many that EdgeRank, the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine which posts pop up in your News Feed, may give preference to posts sent natively rather than through Hootsuite, Buffer, auto-posted by Twitter, or some other non-Facebook source. Out of spite?

So I ran a two week test, posting only through Facebook, and compared the numbers to the previous two weeks to see what effect, if any, this strategy had on our post reach and engagement.


And wouldn’t you know it, it looks like posting natively from Facebook increased both our reach and our engagement.

  • Total reach increased by 26%
  • Average daily reach increased by 26%
  • Total engaged users increased by 26%
  • Average daily engaged users increased by 26%

You may notice a theme here. Beyond these totals and averages, we had two posts that were far and above more popular than anything I’ve posted recently. Anything I’ve seen driven only by organic means, even. They are pretty great posts, if I do say so myself, but I don’t think their quality was wildly better than anything else we’ve posted, so I have to think that, as posting without a 3rd party is the one variable that changed, it likely helped boost these posts.


Quote by Nietsche


Happy Pi day! We love any holiday that encourages learning + eating pie.

Adorable, inspiring, and delicious. But not so incredibly outstanding to justify these results.


Of course, there are many, many (including those at Facebook) who swear that posting from a third party DOES NOT affect the post’s EdgeRankiness. Here’s a great article from Jon Loomer explaining exactly this: The Real Deal with 3rd Party Facebook Publishing Tools.

So while I can’t say for certain that posting to Facebook via Hootsuite was dampening our reach and potential engagement, based on my own rudimentary tests I’ll stick with posting only through Facebook for the time being. We’ve continued to have a few breakouts since these last two, and because you can schedule posts within Facebook it doesn’t greatly affect my workflow.

What about you, have you noticed a difference when you post from a third party versus posting within Facebook? If you’d like to run your own simple test, check out my guidelines in this post. And let me know what you find!

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