Over 1.5 billion people regularly use Facebook.

And as the social network has grown, the rate at which Facebook shares news, and releases new features and products has accelerated.

It can be a little hard to keep up sometimes.

With this in mind, I’d love to share 11 Facebook tips, tricks, and facts with you.

This post will give you plenty of great stuff to help you get the most out of and better understand Facebook. From why you get shown certain ads and which types of posts get the most engagement, to how closely connected you everyone else on the planet and much, much more.

Let’s go!

pablo (19)

1. How to edit your Facebook ad preferences

Have you ever seen a random ad appear in your timeline and wondered why Facebook is showing it to you?

It probably has something to do with your Advert Preferences – a selection of topics Facebook believes you’re interested in based on your profile, Pages you like or engage with, ads you click on and apps and websites you use.

It’s super interesting to understand more about what topics Facebook believes you’re interested in and within your Facebook settings, you can view and even edit these preferences.

To take a peek at your preferences, click on Settings in the top right corner of Facebook:

fb-ads

Then select Adverts, and click ‘Edit’ next to ‘Ads based on my preferences’:

fb-ads-edit

You’ll then see the below screen, click ‘Visit Ad Preferences’ to view and edit your preferences:

ad-preferences

Now, you’ll be taken to the page where you can view and edit all of your ad preferences:

ads-preferences

It’s fascinating to dive into each category and check out the topics listed within your preferences. If you’d like to remove any of your preferences, and not receive ads targetted to that topic, you can do so by hovering over and clicking the ‘x’ button:

remove-preference

(h/t to Katie Notopoulos over at Buzzfeed for this tip)

2. Images posted via Instagram receive more engagement than native Facebook image posts

A Buzzsumo study of over 1 billion Facebook posts from 3 million brand pages found that images posted to Facebook via Instagram receive more engagement than natively published images:

facebook-image-engagement

This is particularly interesting, as often, cross posting from one platform to another results in less engagement (native Facebook video vs. embedding a YouTube video on Facebook, for example).

However, with Instagram being owned by Facebook, there could be some benefits for Facebook by making posts from Instagram more visible in the timeline.

Have you tried posting images to Facebook via Instagram? I’d love to hear if you noticed any difference in engagement in the comments below.

3. The six degrees of separation are shrinking

Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone in the world is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person. However, thanks to social media, it appears the six degrees are now shrinking.

According to a Facebook study, the six degrees of separation has now become the three-and-a-half degrees of separation, as Facebook explain on their research blog:

Each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people.

The majority of the people on Facebook have averages between 2.9 and 4.2 degrees of separation as the below graph shows:

degrees of seperation

This highlights how social media, and Facebook, in particular, is making us more connected. You can find out more about this and find your degrees of separation over at the Facebook research blog.

Below are my degrees of separation and those of a few Facebook employees:

seperation

4. How to download all of your Facebook information

Almost everyone who uses Facebook has lots of information, content and memories stored within the social network.

If you’d like a backup of all your Facebook data – including photos – you can download everything in a few simple steps:

  1. Head over to your Facebook Settings page
  2. Click Download a copy of your Facebook data below your General Account Settings
  3. Select ‘Start My Archive’ to get your download going

download-facebook

Pro tip: The data that you download from Facebook contains a lot of sensitive information like inbox messages, photos and more. It could be a good idea to keep it all saved in a safe location.

For a full list of what’s included when you download your information, check out this page on the Facebook Help Center.

5. Posts with hashtags receive less engagement than those without

Buzzsumo’s study of over 1 billion Facebook posts discovered that posts on Facebook that include a hashtag receive less engagement than those without hashtags, as illustrated in the below graph:

hashtag-engagement

Hashtags have become a default way to categorize content across Twitter and Instagram, but not made much impact on Facebook. Do you ever use hashtags on Facebook? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below this post.

This also highlights the importance of sharing a different message across each social media platform. For example, here’s how I might share the same post on Twitter and Facebook:

Share on Buffer

6. How to save links for later

Often, when I browse my Facebook Newsfeed, I spot something that grabs my attention but don’t immediately have time to read a post or watch a video.

If you’re even in this situation, Facebook has a really neat feature allowing you to save a link to come back to later. Here’s a snapshot of my saved content:

facebook-saved

If you see something in your timeline that you’d like to save for later, you can click on the drop-down menu in the top right corner and click ‘Save Link.’

Here’s how it looks on desktop:

save link

And on mobile:

saved-image

To find your saved posts again you can head to https://www.facebook.com/saved/ and on mobile tap ‘More’ from the navigation and then you should see an option for Saved:

saved-mobile

7. Almost half of Facebook’s users are mobile only

Facebook now boasts more than 1.5 billion users, more than 1 billion of which use the service daily.

What’s even more interesting is that nearly half, around 46%, of Facebook’s users never log in to the desktop site and use Facebook only on mobile devices.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 12.01.08

Will we soon hit the tipping point where the majority of Facebook users are mobile-only? VentureBeat predicts that we could reach that landmark at some time in 2016.

8. How to sync your Facebook Calendar with Google Calendar

I find this one is extremely helpful. My calendar is like my personal assistant, and I use it to plan and organize both my work and social schedules.

If you use both Facebook events and Google Calendar, combining the two is amazingly useful and pretty simple. Here’s how to do it:

Head over to Events on Facebook, and click on one of your ‘Upcoming events.’ Once you’re on the event page, click on the ‘Options’ button and select ‘Export Event’ from the dropdown, as shown below:

export-event

Next you’ll see the below lightbox popup. Here you’ll want to copy the URL under ‘Subscribe to all upcoming events on your calendar.’

save-url

Once you’ve copied the URL, open up Google Calendar and on the left-hand side you’ll see an option called ‘Other Calendars.’ Click on the drop down next to ‘Other Calendars’ and choose “Add by URL” as shown below.

Once the lightbox opens up, insert the URL you copied from Facebook and your Facebook events will now sync with Google Calendar.

google-calendar

9. How to search your video library

Video has become an excellent way to reach and engage your audience on Facebook.

If your brand uploads a lot of video content to Facebook, there’s a useful Video Library feature that gives you a list of all the videos you’ve uploaded as well as multiple ways to filter them.

To find your Facebook Page’s Video Library, head over to your Page and click ‘Publishing Tools.’

publishing tools

From the Publishing Tools page, then select the Video Library option on the left-hand side:

video-library

This is a great way to filter through all of your Facebook videos and discover your most successful content at a glance. You could consider re-sharing some of your most highly viewed content or using it as a blueprint for future video posts.

10. Facebook’s audience is growing up in Western markets

Facebook was founded in 2004, and as its twelfth birthday approaches, it’s not just the social network that has matured. So have its users – in Western markets, at least.

As AdWeek reports:

Millennials make up a smaller share of Facebook’s users in Western markets than in developing nations. In the U.S., for instance, there are 17 percent more people over the age of 40 using the social network than their younger counterparts. Additionally, 33 percent of Facebook’s audience is under age 30. By comparison, in India and Indonesia, 75 percent of its users are millennials or younger.

11. Messenger has over 800 million users (is social media becoming more private?)

2015 was a huge year for Facebook Messenger and the app now has over 800 million monthly active users.

The below graphic shares some more of Messanger’s 2015 highlights:

messenger2016

On Facebook’s Newsroom, David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook explains that the Messenger team’s mission is to “make Messenger the best place to communicate with all the people and businesses in the world.

As Messenger, and more private social media and communication platforms boom, it feels like social media is becoming a little less about sharing our lives publicly, and more about connecting on a personal level with the people closest to us.

In their Digital in 2016 report, We Are Social note that they’re seeing an increased number of ‘private’ accounts on Instagram too, again backing up the feeling that social media is heading in a more private direction.

As marketers, this could also lead to a shift in the way we approach social media. Moving more towards value-led marketing that helps enhance customer experience and generate more favorable mentions and recommendations between individuals.

To succeed in this more personal social media environment, we need to get better at listening to individuals. Not just using social media as a way to share and promote marketing messages and campaigns.

Over to you

Thanks for reading! I hope you found some of these tips, tricks and facts useful.

Was there anything, in particular, you picked up from this post? Any Facebook tips and tricks you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you and join the conversation in the comments. 

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Written by Ash Read

Content crafter at Buffer. I’m fascinated by storytelling, entrepreneurship, and travel. When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me on a football pitch or basketball court.

  • http://hedstrominternetconsulting.com/ Steve Hedstrom

    Great post Ash! I had a fun time seeing my ad preferences and did end up deleting a bunch of things I’m not really interested in. Curious to see what ads will show up now. I do like the video library tip too. I prefer to use Insights and then click Videos to show the engagement reach easily. I also found the no hashtags getting a greater reach interesting. Going to try no hashtags on all my and clients posts this week. Happy Monday, Cheers, and sharing with my network. See you on the interwebs man! 🙂

  • Christina Knock

    The native Facebook vs Instagram photo engagement is really interesting! I wonder if it is because photos posted on Instagram tend to be more visually pleasing than those posted directly to Facebook?

  • Susan Bell

    Is there any way to see who has blocked your posts? I sometimes wonder if I am talking to myself on my personal facebook account. I like the ad preferences and the publishing tools. Tips in this blog for personal accounts and companies.

  • Cat Michaels

    Finding the “save” option on Facebook will “save” me loads of time, Ash. Interesting stats on Instagram photos getting more shares than native snaps, with its square aspect ratio and multiple hashtags. I have been posting separately but will try sharing on Facebook via IG. Thanks!

    • http://ashread.com Ash Read

      Hey Cat! The ‘Save’ option on Facebook is so, so useful! I use it multiple times per day. Love to hear how you get on with sharing Instagram pics to Facebook 🙂

  • Dave

    Ash, what’s your opinion about the dilemna between posting to FB through IG where you will have hashtags…will that decrease from the increase using IG?

  • Kirsten Grosman

    Great article Ash. Really interesting the one with posting images from instagram. Remember not very long ago this just didn’t work well. Mainly I think cause of all f the hashtags that were used on instagram.

  • Taimoor Ahmed

    Really nice article, You have mention all those things regarding face book which is less people know about. Amazing

    • http://ashread.com Ash Read

      Thanks Taimoor! 🙂

  • http://fortyweekslater.com/ Seth Burleigh

    A workaround to the FB/Instagram hashtag dilemma (b/c, random hashtags in FB will kill reach and engagement) is to put the Instagram hashtags in a comment. Apparently, they still serve the same purpose on Instagram and then won’t kill your FB post.

    • http://ashread.com Ash Read

      Hey Seth, that’s such a great point. I tend to add hashtags to a comment after posting on Instagram too – my Instagram pics get sent straight to Twitter and I don’t like adding a ton of hashtags to tweets. Great one and thank you so much for commenting 🙂

    • Beth

      That’s a great solution, Seth! I was wondering if this was an exception to the hashtag = death scenario.

    • ColorMeForum

      What do you mean hashtags kill reach and engagement? I’ve used hashtags to reach more channels. Never used random ones just relevant ones.

      • http://fortyweekslater.com/ Seth Burleigh

        If a brand/page uses a random hashtag on FB (ie. you think it’s clever but nobody on FB knows about it), your reach will get throttled even more than it already is – it’s been proven. Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram are totally different and especially on Instagram, are quite the opposite in that hey amplify reach and engagement.

        • ColorMeForum

          Where has it been proven? What constitutes a random hashtag?

    • http://hublaalike.com Beso

      That’s a great solution. Thanks.
      Hublaa

    • Schnacks

      I believe that placing IG hashtags in a comment gives lower search results in IG.

  • Scott Miller

    I ‘ll look into #1, editing ad prefs
    I’ve done #8 synching calendars. It is useful but use with caution. If the event owner changes the date the change is not synced. I once came to a party on the wrong day … Also if a playi runs for five days you see it five times. So not perfect.

  • JoRo

    Nice article with some interesting info. Anybody has some hands on experience with the whole instagram vs native FB images thing? Hashtags getting less reach is also curious and I would love to know why. And yes, the save feature is truly awesome. 😉

    • Beth

      It almost seems contradictory (or at least counterintuitive) that Instagram posts (known for lots of hashtags) get more interaction but using hashtags in native posts cause interaction to go down. Weird!

      • Shannon Hein

        I was thinking the same thing. Instagram photos shared on Facebook get more engagement, but what about the hashtags? Maybe this is when it would be best to include hashtags in your comment and then share on Facebook?

        • Alvaro

          It could be that Instagram photos get more engament on Facebook because they are republished on FB without hashtags. First they are published on IG with hashtags and then, again, in FB without them.

  • Natacha

    Useful article, well done and thanks!

  • http://www.melissapazen.net/ Melissa Pazen

    About hashtags:

    I manage the Save Abandoned Babies page and found that adding the hashtags at the end seemed to have no detriment. We got most likes when we posted about a baby brought to a safe have or a baby illegally abandoned and who lived.

    In fact, by using #babies, we picked up a number of new fans.

    • http://fortyweekslater.com/ Seth Burleigh

      Some hashtags are fine, it’s the random ones that you (not you per se) think are clever, that have no relevance on FB.

  • MOURABOU Soufian

    This was very helpful, and yeah I already experienced sharing posts with hashtags and without it, so posts with hashtags receive more engagement if your hashtags was popular and relevant than if you use plenty of hashtags aren’t related.
    Thanks for your sharing.

  • https://twitter.com/KovalenkoVolo Volodymyr Kovalenko

    Cool stuff, Ash!
    These are very useful advices. The most interesting one is about hashtags. Would love to read more about that. I think, this is a good thing to test myself. Thanks for help.

  • Kimberly Niccole Scamman

    Great info! But a question. Maybe I’m being dense and someone can help…posting via IG brings more engagement but using hashtags on FB brings less engagement (totally understandable) — however, does the hashtags rule only apply to native posts? I’m assuming posting via IG, posts would contain hashtags. Thoughts?

  • Rebecca Leifer, Tulane 2016

    Very interesting post, especially the way to edit ad preferences! With all of my social media studies and work, I have never encountered that ability. Question – you mentioned that it is both best to sync Instagram photos to Facebook as well as minimize hashtag usage on Facebook, yet it is well known that hashtags are very effective on Instagram. How would you recommend optimizing both aspects so that when using hashtags on Instagram, they don’t automatically populate to Facebook as well.

    • Joe Lean

      I thought that when you shared to FB from IG you got the chance to edit the accompanying text before it gets sent to FB, so you can remove all the hashtags without affecting the original IG post. If that makes sense?!

  • Pauline Teulier

    It is amazing how we can still discover new things about Facebook, while we feel se used to it.
    The two posts that particularly caught my attention were the one about Instagram posts and the one about hashtags. I currently use Instagram and I believed it was too repetitive and it would trigger less engagement to post a picture on two social media, simultaneously. The information about hashtags is particularly surprising, it has become so popular and fashionable to put those everywhere ; especially when it is said that Instagram posts collect more likes (with their usual huge amount of hashtags).
    Facebook is the biggest social media existing, and probably the most influent for the moment. As you said in this article, it can allow us to connect with people (average degree of separation equals 3.57), it can be very useful to know all these little combines to make Facebook’s use easier and more attractive.

    Pauline Teulier, graduation May 2018,
    Freeman school of business, Tulane University
    Essex Business School

  • https://www.jessehanley.com Jesse Hanley

    This post is $$$ 🔥

    Facebook is a behemoth and proves to be a long term, worthwhile investment for brands who actually understand it and can leverage the small nuances 👌

    We’ve been working with a stack of our customers at MeetCalvin(.com) to improve their Facebook organic reach ever since it’s been on the downward slope (which I actually think is a good thing. Facebook is optimizing for their users and not brands so whatever helps the platform thrive over the long term I’m for).

    Little tweaks go a long way when combined with consistency.

  • http://www.gozkart.com Sanaya Shaikh

    amazing post 7th one was best and true

  • http://www.fiverr.com/Jenna561 Jenna

    Great post! I didn’t know that posting through Instagram resulted in higher engagement, but I guess it does make sense if the two are connected. I never realized hashtags resulted in lower engagement either, that was really interesting to read. 🙂

    It’s really neat that nearly half of Facebook users are mobile only too. I knew there were a lot of people on mobiles on Facebook, but I never knew the mobile only number was so high.

    The tips for saving content for later and finding your video library were really helpful too; Facebook has so many neat features, but it’s hard to keep track of them all, lol. 🙂

  • http://www.theflyingcouponer.com The Flying Couponer

    Great post as always! I I was also wondering the same thing about publishing to Facebook from Instagram. What about the hastags? Hehe. Problem solved!

  • Kristi Woods

    Yes, yes, and yes ~ I’ve noticed IG posts receiving a higher engagement. Enjoyed the read, gleaning too. Thanks Ash.

  • http://UnconventionalTourist.com/ FrugalTravelsNepal

    I live in Nepal and most of the young people here are on Facebook to the point that they think it’s the internet. Social media has changed so much it’s more of a chore and time waster than anything else.

    I appreciate your tip to save the post for later. I had 20 windows open and was just keeping my browser open so I wouldn’t loose them. Not a good plan, I know.

  • http://sattamatka.press sattamatkapress

    your post is very informatic, it is very useful for me thanking you..

  • http://www.lucasselbach.com.br Lucas Selbach

    Excellent Post, Ash!!!
    Thanks for sharing!
    =)

  • Joan Bell

    Brilliant post Ash and very timely as I’m on a FB learning curve!

  • http://www.brightlivingstone.com/email-marketing-services.php BrightLivingstone

    Hello Ash Read

    Such an informative article.i have heard that 70% marketing email are being viewed in mobile. but its astonishing to hear that more than 65% of facebook user are browsing in mobile. its a clear view shows that feature of marketing is moving toward mobile.its better to optimize your marketing towards mobile for better engagement.

    Thanks
    Brightlivingstone

  • http://tracycampbell.net Tracy Campbell

    Ash, thanks for compiling this informative post. Off to share it. 😊

  • http://www.bridgetwillard.com Bridget Willard

    Two things I use often on Facebook:
    1. Object Debugger Tool
    2. Refresh Share Attachment

    Great post again.

  • Miruna

    Great tips Ash! There are things in here I wasn’t aware of, so thanks for sharing!

  • Audrey Bigelow

    I can’t believe that photos posted from Instagram receive more engagement than photos posted directly through facebook. Super interesting! Thanks for all of this helpful info!

  • Shahbaz Asghar

    Really nice to see this content i also found an Facebook Messenger Hidden Chess Game

  • Sarah Tower

    I’m relatively new to IG, but I’ve noticed that photos shared from IG to FB definitely get less “likes” and probably less views.

  • Kalina Nedyalkova

    Pocket is a great tool, which helps you store all the web information you need. It is very easy to use. 🙂
    Here is the link: https://getpocket.com/

  • http://kcprocter.com/ KC Procter

    Interested to know if photos and quote graphics shared via a Facebook page tend to perform better with or without a caption. Do you have any research or guidance on that?

  • Birthday Wisher

    .this is brilliant stuff .i found a nice website where you can get timelime covers which can generate your name also Thanks .

    http://www.mycovers.net/