A new study from the University of Sydney shows what type of posts get the most likes and shares on Facebook. They found that posts involving videos, sports stars, celebrities, factual information and emotional appeals are the most popular.

This study, published in PLOS ONE, was conducted to determine what public health agencies need to do on Facebook to effectively promote healthy behaviors among the public, with topics ranging from diet, smoking, alcohol and drug use to mental and sexual health. The agencies for the study were beyondblue, Movember Foundation, R U OK Day, Cancer Council NSW and Heart Foundation, all of which have Facebook accounts to promote their agenda.

The research team analyzed the number of likes, sharing and comments on each of this agency’s posts. According to lead researcher James Kite, a PhD student at the university, video posts garnered the greatest Facebook user engagement.

On average, videos get 25 percent more likes, four times more shares and two times more comments than photo posts. Link-based posts get 37 percent fewer likes and 30 percent fewer shares while text-based posts receive 31 percent fewer likes and 69 percent fewer shares.

Posts that use emotional appeals get 18 percent more likes but get shared 27 percent less and receive 10 percent fewer comments compared to call-to-action appeals.

Information-based posts get twice as many shares but do not get more likes or comments. On the other hand, humor-based appeals get twice as many comments but do not have any impact on likes or shares.

Fear-based appeals receive 72 percent more comments but no significant effect on shares or likes.

Celebrities and sports personalities get 62 percent more likes, 64 percent more comments and twice more shares than posts without the same subjects.

Meanwhile, Facebook posts like sponsorships and authority figures were the least popular type of posts.  Sponsorships get 41 percent fewer likes, 58 percent fewer shares and 50 percent fewer comments.

Competitions, prizes and giveaways also get more comments but vouchers, offers and rebates experience no impact on likes, shares or comments.

“The study shows that in order to increase the chances of achieving public health goals, public health agencies using Facebook need to encourage engagement and adapt to the Facebook algorithm to maximise message exposure, while ensuring their content is high quality,” says University of Sydney co-author Dr Becky Freeman.