Holy Metrics, Facebook Engagement Plummets for Brands

For brands on Facebook, the writing is on the wall. Engagement is down significantly in the past year. It’s not surprising … in fact it was widely predicted when Facebook announced an algorithm change this would be bad news for publishers.

This year’s Social Media Industry Benchmark from Rival IQ shows just how bad.

“Every industry saw a dramatic decline in Facebook engagement rate this year, and for many, that meant less than half than last year’s engagement. The median last year was 0.16%, a number that no industry median reached this year,” writes Blair Feehan in Rival IQ.

“It’s worth noting that 2018 marked a change in Facebook’s algorithm that promised to display more content from friends and family and less from brands in the News Feed. With this change, it’s no surprise that Facebook engagement took a dip across all industries this year,” Feehan continues.

I guess they meant it when Facebook execs said it’s not up to them to save publishers – even after taking their money, delivering dodgy at best metrics, and basically refusing to play nice with the brands supporting the duopoly.

Brands are faring only slightly better on Instagram at 1.60% across industries, and a scanty .048% on Twitter.

But is engagement really that important? Is that really why brands are even on social media? According to Feehan and the folks at Rival IQ, it is absolutely that important.

“Social media success is about so much more than getting the most comments or profile clicks: it’s about increasing engagement while also growing or maintaining the percentage of your audience that engages as you grow your audience,” Feehan writes, explaining why they chose to focus on engagement metrics for this report.

The report does a nice job of breaking down engagement metrics by industry snapshots, which makes it useful to judge where your own results lie in relations to your competitors. But in a very real way, it’s like competing for the best seat on boat that barely makes it out of the harbor. You might have a slightly better view, but you’ll never get to your destination.

What I find really and truly fascinating is the number of average posts per day. Across all 12 categories in the report, Media came out way on top in terms of how often they posted, at 8.18 times per day. Even with the frequent posting, they were near the bottom in terms of engagement.

And that’s the sad state of affairs for media brands on social media today. Consumers have lost trust in social media news to a large extent, and the good gets swept up with the bad in our collective tune-out. Meanwhile, somewhere in the real world, a trusted media brand is engaging in print in a powerful and lasting way …