[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


[2019 REPORT] Facebook + Instagram Organic & Paid Trends

Organic Social Opportunities Still Abound For The Flexible

With each passing year, achieving stellar results in social media inexpensively gets more challenging.

That’s not to say it is impossible.

Rather, it requires more thought and a fresh perspective, since opportunities ebb and flow.

As we head into the final quarter of 2019, Social Bakers latest research paper provides some practical insights for those looking to optimise organic and paid social activity.

Let’s start with the unpaid side of things.

Free opportunities within social platforms are obviously dictated by the whims of social news feed algorithms.

Which themselves are at the whim of platform policy changes, generally driven by user experience evolutions or platform product development biases.

Take, for example, the recent uptick in performance from social flops like Instagram’s IGTV or Facebook Stories. Both have benefited from user interface ‘nudges’, alongside extra feed exposure.

As per the report image above, Live Video still rules the roost organically within Facebook, as it has done for several years.

Live Video drives significantly higher interactions than any other content format on average, despite only being used on 4% of analysed posts.

Social Photos Dominating Video. Really?

Alas, the report claims that non-Live Facebook video still struggles for oxygen, dominated by photos since early 2018.

However, with Facebook Watch slowly starting to get moving locally, there is reason to be optimistic that weak video results may bounce back within the next 18-24 months.

Over on Instagram, despite the good game the platform talks on video, photos still reign supreme according to Social Bakers.

Median post interactions on Instagram photos are around 20% higher than on video. Interestingly, however, the biggest opportunity on Instagram organically appears to be with Carousels.

Organic Carousel posts drove the most interactions, but are only used 15% to 18% of the time.

For those wanting free social exposure; overall, we can see that median post interactions on Instagram are more than three times higher than interactions on Facebook.  

Although the achilles-heal of organic social has always been quality.

Just because a social profile is getting free exposure does not prove it’s with the right people. In fact, marketers have almost no idea as to who is organically seeing posts really.

Therefore, for smart marketers today, organic social is perhaps most useful for branding, due to unpredictably of results and lack of clarity on targeting.

Resultantly, the heavy lifting in social media tends to be done via ads. Thankfully, Social Bakers have some handy insights here also.

Facebook Ads For Performance, Insta For Branding

Despite Instagram’s rise and rise, Facebook still dominates budgets and will probably do so for the foreseeable future.

With Facebook News Feed, in particular, dominating all.

Social Bakers assessed 40,000 branded accounts during the second quarter of 2019 and found that 60% of the total ad spend on Facebook and Instagram is going to Facebook News Feed ads.

Instagram Feed came in a distant second at 20%, and the rest of the top five (Insta Stories, Facebook suggested video and Facebook in-stream video) combine for about 10%.

The bias towards Facebook News Feed is ultimately down to performance. With News Feed driving substantially higher click through rates (CTRs).

The report found Facebook News Feed ads averaged a 1.7% click through rate (CTR) during the second quarter of the year, while Instagram News Feed barely nudged 0.25%.

This is not to suggest that Instagram Feed, Stories or any other low CTR Facebook placement is weak or unworthwhile.

Instead, it is more suggestive to be mindful of how ad objectives and media placements come together.

For example, Stories ads, both in Facebook and Instagram, are good value for reach (and increasingly engagement) just less potent for driving traffic than Facebook News Feed on average.

Similarly, video units are often better for awareness and ad recall, but weaker for driving traffic than image ads.

Ergo, when digesting data like this, or similar, all studies of this nature should be viewed as food for thought, rather than gospel.  

As Social Bakers insightful report demonstrates, opportunities still abound in social media, however, they’re just far more subject to context and nuance than ever before.

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