What are the most popular categories of facebook groups?
Hello and thank you for your question on the most popular categories of Facebook groups. The short answer to your question is that information on groups is not shared publicly, nor is there enough information available to triangulate the total number of users per category, or which groups are the most dynamic.
The total number of group users rose above 1 billion for the first time in September 2016, while the eCommerce Buy and Sell has been a particular focus for Facebook itself. Also, in July 2017, Facebook introduced Groups for Pages, which will allow the most popular pages on Facebook to have their own official fan clubs on the platform.
In attempting to answer your question, I turned first to Facebook itself, however searches there are automatically tailored to the interest of the user (and searches are not allowed unless logged in). So simply searching for the most popular groups will yield different results for everyone. Thus, when I attempted to search thematic categories, the searches turned up only those groups that the Facebook algorithm calculated would be of interest to me. (Selecting those listed as "trending" yielded results based on the number of recent posts, but still limited to those groups linked to specific interests.)
Having been frustrated in this approach, I looked for information on technology and business media sites for articles on Facebook groups. Unfortunately, many media sites use the terms "page" and "group" interchangeably, so lists of the top "groups" are often for pages instead.
Media sources do little better in calculating the number of groups than using Facebook itself. After considerable searching, I could not find even an estimate of the total number of groups Facebook has, let alone any more detailed information.
Finally, I shifted my focus to identifying what major changes and development Facebook had done on its groups function in the last two years, in order to get a better handle on their priorities. This gave me a little more information, which I've explained in depth below. While this still does not answer your question about users and growth within categories, it does give a general idea of where the groups function on Facebook is headed.
Primary categories of Facebook groups are determined by the level of privacy desired: public, private and secret. Private and secret groups require some level of approval to join, thus giving members and administrators control over who sees their content. Once they have joined, members post directly and all posts are visible in chronological order to all viewers, whereas pages show only admin posts, with "unofficial" fan posts accessible from the sidebar.
Originally, privacy level was the only determiner used for groups (although groups selling to users were treated separately). However, in 2015, Facebook began testing a selection of thematic categories. Today, that list has been expanded to the following:
School and Education
Buy and Sell
Animals and Pets
Hobby and Leisure
Science and Tech
Health and Fitness
Arts and Culture
Cars and Motorcycles
Identity and Relationships
Neighborhood and Community
Support and Comfort
Home and Garden
Travel and Places
Spiritual and Inspirational
Movies and TV
By far, the category that has received the most attention in recent years is Buy and Sell. Facebook introduced new features in 2015 to make it easier to use their platform as an online market. This has made them a cheaper alternative to traditional sales sites like eBay and Kijiji, where sellers pay a percentage of each sale to the company. Facebook revamped this category again in 2016, called Facebook Marketplace, with further features designed to connect the social media giant with the expanding online commerce industry.
GROUPS FOR PAGES
Another major development happened in July 2017, when Facebook introduced a feature called Groups for Pages. This will finally allow the most popular pages on their platform to form official fan clubs.
If we assume that the new Groups for Pages will more or less mirror the list of most popular pages, this new type of group will include the following in its most popular:
Sports — Cristiano Ronaldo, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Lionel Messi
Social Media Platforms — Facebook for Every Phone, Facebook, YouTube (this would constitute a new category)
Movies and TV — Vin Diesel, Will Smith
Arts and Culture — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Shakira, Eminem, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift
Food — Tasty
Whether the Groups for Pages translates exactly remains to be seen. While people may be drawn to the participatory nature of a group page and the potential for increased reach through notifications, it is unclear how users will react to the number of notifications generated by groups of this size and how the number of participants will affect the ability of any individuals to participate in group discussion. (At this time, the most popular pages have not yet migrated to the new feature.)
Regardless, Groups for Pages is a game-changer in the evolution of Facebook groups.
While statistics for users, growth and the number of pages are not publicly available, the category that has received the most attention and generated the most media coverage is that of eCommerce (buy/ sell). With the introduction of Groups for Pages, the face of Facebook groups is set to change in the immediate future.
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