Facebook: “Like” Women, “Share” Men

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We all know that the interactions with men and women on social media can greatly vary. For example, Pinterest is mostly regarded as a social platform that women use. But what about the most popular social media platform, Facebook?

In a recent study of Facebook images published by nine leading retail brands, we found that Facebook users liked brand images of women 41% more than images of men, but they shared images of men 19% more than images of women. Retail brand Facebook followers “like” images of women but “share” men.

SocialFresh used the Taggs’ visual content marketing software to index 1,103 brand images from the Facebook pages of nine US retail brands. Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Forever21, H&M, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Old Navy, Target, and Wal-Mart.

For each image, SocialFresh collected Facebook likes, shares, and comments, and then classified the images as showing men, women, or both.

Here’s What Taggs Found:

Given the female orientation of the retail brands, it’s not surprising that we discovered well over half of the brand images (63%) show women only.


But how does the Facebook audience engage with these image categories? Take a look.


We found, as expected, that brand images showing only women have the highest Facebook engagement, about 41% higher than images of men and 29% higher than images showing only both men and women.

However, most of the overall engagement is dominated by the always abundant post likes…Facebook shares tell a different story!


When we analyze shares, we found that brand images showing only men earned the highest shares on average, 19% more than images of women.

Why did retail audiences like images of women but share images of men?

Here’s a theory presented by SocialFresh: Likes are the “lightest” Facebook engagement, requiring the least amount of user effort and endorsement. Most brand images of women show women wearing products. Here are examples of the most liked content (and most frequent content of women).

Screenshot of brand images from the Taggs app. Images are owned by the brands.

The images are well designed and the women attractive, but the content focuses on product and has little authentic meaning. They appeal to women’s commercial and superficial desires, and therefore these images get likes, the lightest engagement response. Granted, they do get a lot of them!

Sharing requires more investment from the user, and so the content needs to motivate users. Shareable content elicits emotion beyond superficial wants or otherwise provides some value to the user. Here are three of the most shared images of women.

Screenshot of brand images from the Taggs app. Images are owned by the brands.

The more shared content has meaning, conveying authentic messages like patriotism, celebration, and self-expression.

This same principle helps explain the high shares we observed for brand images of men. Here are a few examples of the most shared images of men.

Screenshot of brand images from the Taggs app. Images are owned by the brands.

These images conjure feelings of sympathy, nostalgia, human compassion, and sexual desire.(Note: The first two images lack brand, which I generally don’t recommend.)

The retail brands in our study post images of women most often, and quantity costs them quality and the overall shareability of the brand content is diluted.

Brands post images of men less often, only 20% of the time. Presumably they post images of men only when they actually have something meaningful to convey. As a result, these more compelling images of men earn more shares on average than images of women.


Research methodology: The retail brands analyzed are all in the top 100 most followed brands on Facebook, and we analyzed all of their brand images published to the global Timeline between January 1 and June 31 2013. We identified 1,103 brand images showing adult people, and we classified each image as having only women, only men, or at least one of each. Engagement as a percent of fans is calculated as ((likes + shares + comments)/fan page likes)*1000 (a multiplier to make decimals in graphs more digestible).

Post Author: Mark Kelley

Mark Kelley is the co-founder and CEO at Taggs, the pioneer in visual content marketing analytics. Taggs serves some of the world’s largest consumer brands and agencies. Mark founded Taggs with the vision of helping marketers measure and optimize… View Full Profile →

See the original article by Mark Kelley on SocialFresh, which includes tips!

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