SAN FRANCISCO: New research has found that few top brands are using live hashtags on Facebook, and that there has been no measurable effect from the service for these companies.

A study by Simply Measured, the US analytics firm, found that only 20% of posts from the Interbrand 100, a widely-used brand rankings, have incorporated hashtags on the social network

This is despite the fact that 98 of the top 100, including Coca-Cola, McDonald's and IBM, have an official presence on Facebook. The two exceptions are Apple, the electronics giant, and financial services company Morgan Stanley.

Nate Smitha, a marketing analyst for Simply Measured, told Inside Facebook that brands have not embraced Facebook hashtags – which were launched in June 2013 – to the same extent as Twitter and Instagram hashtags.

“At this point hashtags are still new for Facebook users and I think that brands have not really implemented them in a way that ties to other campaigns”, he said.

The Simply Measured study also found that posting visual content on Facebook leads to 98% of engagement among the top 100 brands, with photos gaining an average of 9,400 engagements per post and video 2,500.

It also revealed that some 29% of the top brands don't allow fans to post on their walls, which typically leads to 15% less engagement.

Automakers remain the best at engagement on Facebook, with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Harley-Davidson and Audi USA all being among the top 10 in engagement, as pictures of their products lead to more fan feedback.

Technology companies come second in terms of engagement, followed by luxury goods.

The top 10 brands in terms of engagement average 19.9m fans, while Facebook is the most liked brand page, with 93m fans, followed by Coca-Cola, with 68.6m and MTV on 45.8m.

Simply Measured concluded that, while Facebook remains the social media hub for most top brands, the social media marketplace continues to evolve, and monitoring how brand tactics change is crucial as fans are introduced to new ways to discover content.

Data sourced from Simply Measured, Inside Facebook; additional content by Warc staff