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[NEW STUDY] Social Engagement Rates By Vertical

Facebook Engagement Remains Flat, While Instagram Drops 23%

Social media engagement is a fickle beast.

Not only does it vary between channels.

No surprises there.

But, it also varies considerably between industries.

As the latest version of Rival IQs annual Social Media Industry Benchmark Report makes clear.

The data draws on the social media performance of more than 2,000 brands, incorporating some 5 million posts, tweets and updates. 

While some of Rival IQs findings mimic similar studies, i.e. Instagram’s down year on year, the most interesting aspect is the vertical breakdowns.

Rival IQs report investigates engagement metrics and trends across 14 top industries: Alcohol, Fashion, Financial Services, Food & Beverage, Health & Beauty, Higher Education, Home Decor, Hotels & Resorts, Influencers, Media, Nonprofits, Retail, Sports Teams, and Tech & Software. 

Facebook Engagement Stabilises

Despite rumblings to the contrary, Facebook’s median engagement rate remains the same year on year, at 0.09% across all industries, as per above.

Rival IQs data substantiates 2019 data from Parsely which noted last year that Facebook referral traffic (to publishers at least) had stabilised.

Publishers, in particular, were hit hard by Facebook’s 2018 algorithm updates, with those changes ushering in a period of high volatility.

The average month-over-month change in the absolute number of referrals from Facebook at the end of last year was close to, going up 0.04%, with a standard deviation of 8% (8% increase to 8% drop).

While the standard deviation Parsely recorded in 2018 was 12% (-10% to 14%). In 2017, the swings ranged from -13% to 7%, with an average month over month change of -3%.

Winners and Losers

Back to Rival IQ’s data, while the all-industry Facebook median stayed flat, Higher Ed, Influencers, and Sports Teams were able to make some real inroads here.

Industries decreased their posting frequency on Facebook by about 14% this year.

While on Instagram, every industry in Rival IQs study took a hit, and the all-industry median decreased by 23% from 1.60% to 1.22%.

The median posting frequency across all industries declined by just 5% on Instagram, but top performer, Sports Teams, increased their posting.

The dropping posting frequency across Facebook ad Instagram is not surprising.

More broadly, content marketers seem to be producing less content across the board, but better content and with a greater focus on multi-channel amplification.

As opposed to churning out higher volumes of distinct pieces in just one channel.

Vertical Specific Takeaways

While social engagement is often spoken about in generic terms, in reality, it is quite nuanced.

Alcohol brands make the most of photos on Facebook, which are consistently the highest-performing post type on this channel.

Fashion brands posted less frequently across every channel than last year but really only saw a major engagement dip on Instagram, where they declined about 30%.

For the second year in a row, Food & Beverage brands saw some of the highest hashtag engagement on Instagram. These brands were especially successful when posting about contests and giveaways.

Contests and giveaways, again, topped the Instagram hashtag charts for Health & Beauty brands, but these brands also used hashtags like #skincareroutine and #howto to engage Instagram users looking to learn more about skincare and beauty routines.

Higher Ed’s increased engagement on Facebook this year really shines when examining post types. Higher Ed also sees the highest Instagram hashtag engagement rates for the second year in a row, grabbing the gold with seasonally-appropriate and trending hashtags.

This year, Media brands invested more heavily in posting on Instagram. Smart move, considering Instagram engagement rates beat Facebook by 20x for Media companies.

Retail brands saw below-average performance on Facebook this year and took the hardest hit on Instagram. No surprises here that consumer-focused Retail brands saw lots of Instagram success with hashtags like #competition, #winner, #giveaway, and #win this year.

Check out Rival IQs annual Social Media Industry Benchmark Report and benchmark your vertical.

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