According to a new study from Socialbakers, the average Facebook brand's post generated an engagement rate of 0.16% in the US during the first quarter of the year, a figure that almost doubled to 0.3% by June. The data is backed by separate figures released by Socialbakers, finding that interactions rates have steadily increased on Facebook during the past year.
US Brands’ Average Facebook Post Engagement Rate (Average Likes, Comments & Shares Divided By Total Fans/Page; 1st Half 2014)
Post Engagement Rate
Source: SocialBakers July 2014
The conversation that seems to be dominating the Facebook marketing community, says the report, is all about how algorithmic changes to Facebook’s News Feed are hurting organic reach. According to the Socialbaker’s numbers, the opposite is the case. Brands have never had a better opportunity to have their best content placed in front of so many people, the report concludes.
As Facebook’s user base has grown, says the report, brands, marketers, and advertisers have entered the space as well. And, as happens in any crowded space, it has become harder to have your voice heard. The reasons behind this have been presented many times, says the report: Facebook users Like an increasing amount of Pages, and are connected to increasingly more friends and relatives. There is not an infinite amount of space in the News Feed, so it is up to Facebook to ensure that users see only the best, most-relevant content.
Because optimizing the News Feed is one of Facebook’s core duties to its users, they have always communicated their commitment to ensuring the quality of posts in the News Feed. So for brands to be seen, they must produce high-quality content, says the report.
The best content creators, considering high numbers of interactions (a sure sign of great content) correlates to organic reach. The study reviewed the actual number of Interactions happening on Facebook over the past year for a significant sample of the 3 million largest pages, and found that interactions are consistently increasing on Facebook. The interactions between August 2013 and June 2014 rose on an almost consistent slope from 1,500M to about 2,000M. Facebook engagement for brands is most definitely not declining, says the report. Since January 2014, interactions have risen 30%.
Media outlets thrive by creating new, engaging storytelling methods, incorporating multiple visual, graphic, and other design elements into their content, according to the study. Facebook has been a wonderful space to experiment with rapid innovation, and a smart location for brands looking to see what new storytelling forms resonate with fans. Brand engagements fluctuated between 150M and 100M for the period, while media engagement rose from about 75M to 300M before falling back slightly in the last three measurements in 2014.
Noting that media outlets always have something to talk about, whether that means hard news or new recipes, the report says that brands are less likely to have as much news to break to their fans, so what matters most is to say things in a more captivating way. By letting media lead the way, brands benefit from having this experimentation act as their beta test, concludes the report. Doing so creates future opportunities in the ecosystem, and also shows that the quality of the News Feed content is the key to successfully reaching fans. It is important to note that media success does not preclude brands’ success; it predicts it, says the report.
The report concludes by suggesting that creating engaging content and publishing is just the beginning; measuring what impact posts have on brand awareness, conversions, and/or visits is the next important step.
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