Study: Social Audiences Grew In 2021, While Content Stayed Consistent

Social media audiences grew in large numbers in 2021, but the amount of content that was posted stayed consistent, according to new research from Comscore.

The largest growth was in influencer followers, with a 27% increase on Facebook and a 21% increase on Instagram. In real numbers, the data show 146 billion fans and followers in 2021, an increase from 126 billion in 2020.

The research, released this month, offers a broad assessment of the state of social media and how it interacts with media brands and marketers mapping growth across many industries.

For example, the study found that publishing companies have the largest share of voice on social media among a set of eight categories, including media and entertainment, sports and recreation, retail, consumer goods, automotive, travel and leisure and finance. Publishing tracks 35% of the share of voice. Next is media and entertainment, with 29%. Travel and leisure and finance were de minimis, with 1% share of voice or less.



But those two categories are driving social-media growth as publishing and media and entertainment decline. Finance is up by 21% in cross-platform content creation, and 108% in total cross-platform actions in 2021, including reactions, comments, shares, retweets and likes.  Travel and leisure is up by 9% in content creation, though it declined in total cross-platform actions.

For their part, publishing and media and entertainment declined in both content creation and cross-platform actions. Publishing was off by 4% in content creation and 22% in cross-platform actions, and media and entertainment was off by 9% and 13%, respectively.

The top social-media brands ranked by total cross-platform actions were dominated by sports and entertainment, with some politics mixed in. The top 10:

  • The Shade Room
  • NBA
  • Bleacher Report
  • House of Highlights
  • NFL and ESPN
  • Complex
  • WWE
  • E! News
  • Fox News
  • MLB

Just two legacy magazine brands make the top 25: National Geographic at 12, and People at 23.

The Comscore report also includes the top 25 branded-content advertisers and the top 25 content publishers on both Facebook and Instagram. For Facebook, the advertising leaders in the top five included GEICO, Gatorade, Invisalign, Blue Buffalo and Puma. The publishing leaders in the top five were the animal-related site The Dodo, the Golden State Warriors, the NBA, MLB, and the San Antonio Spurs.

Among the fastest-growing media brands were Coindesk, VentureBeat, Motorsport Network, NTVB Media, Action, Game Informer, SNY, Fandom, Ebony, and Apple TV.

Read the complete report, which is very comprehensive, here.

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