Not getting as much engagement as you’re used to on Instagram? Don’t worry, it’s not a you problem.
Social media as a whole is experiencing decreased engagement, well, except for the unicorn that is TikTok. But engagement is only one of the factors outlined in Rival IQ’s latest annual report on the state of social media. From posting frequency to hashtag usage and the importance of Reels, Rival IQ went deep into the data on social media.
Let’s dive in and talk about what all this means for you and your business in 2023.
In this episode of the podcast, I talk about:
- Why science should influence the art of social media
- Declining social media engagement
- Benchmarks over feelings
- The data comparisons between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok
- Why TikTok has the most engagement
- The industries with the highest engagement
- Love for Holiday Hashtags
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- “If you are posting on Instagram and you're saying, Hey, I feel like my posts aren't getting that much engagement or as much engagement as they used to, you're in the majority here. Facebook and Twitter actually have been holding steady with slight declines, but pretty on par with what we've seen in previous years.” – Andréa Jones
- “Reels have dethroned carousel posts, although I'm already seeing that shift. So y'all know, trends come and go, but reels, as of the time of releasing this, are the most popular type of posts when it comes to engagement on Instagram.” – Andréa Jones
- “We actually see engagement rates higher with lower accounts because of how social media works. When you have a smaller following, they tend to be more intentional, they tend to be more engaged. The more followers you have, the more chances you have of those followers dropping off, not being active, losing interest in your brand.” – Andréa Jones
- “When we think about a benchmark, it really lets us know how that metric is valuable and gives us actual success indicators. We call these key performance indicators when you're looking at specific metrics. So for instance, in my business, when I'm thinking about engagement, I'm not just looking at the public engagement like likes and comments, I'm also looking at things like shares and saves.” – Andréa Jones
- “So when people say you should be posting on Instagram three to five times a day, that's not normal. Like that is definitely an outlier number. Again, we don't necessarily wanna say that that's good or bad, but it is an outlier, and it is relevant to kind of take a look at what is performing well.” – Andréa Jones
- “Twitter engagement is the lowest, which is not surprising to me, especially with the Elon Musk takeover and all of the drama happening over there. It's wild right now.” – Andréa Jones
- “You know, we have this challenge ahead of us, of how do we stay agile and adapt to trends while also staying true to our brand, while also analyzing the data and making sure that our strategies are working.” – Andréa Jones
Check out Rival IQ's 2023 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report
Watch the Episode Below:
Andréa Jones (00:01):
Picture this, you're a business owner in 2023 trying to unlock the secret, the golden ticket of social media engagement. Well, I have your backs, my friend. Today I'm diving into the latest Rival IQ report that covers Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok engagement. All of the data, we're diving into this episode, but the biggest thing that I wanna highlight right off the top is that every single platform is struggling to increase engagement except for TikTok. I'm gonna get into all the data and more in this episode. Let's get into it.
Welcome to The Savvy Social Podcast, the show that blends stories and strategies to help businesses create engaged and profitable online communities using the unique power of social media. And now, your host, Andréa Jones.
Andréa Jones (01:08):
Hello, friends. As I mentioned in my last solo episode, I'm all about the data. Now, listen, I know social media is a mixture of art and science. Today, we're in the sciencey piece, but I'm gonna try to infuse some of the recommendations that I have for all this data. But my recommendations, the art is based on science, it's based on the data, it's based on what I see working. And I'm gonna nerd out with y'all in this episode. Now, if you wanna download this 136 page report yourself, I'm gonna put the link in the description. I'm not affiliated with this company at all, but my team and I use them as benchmarking for our clients and for our members in the Savvy Social School, because we want them to see what is actually happening in the industry. So what's happening on your account, yes, is important, and you definitely should compare yourself to yourself.
But also, if you wanna get a sense of what's working in the industry at large, this report is it. And I geek out about these reports every single year. So I'm gonna be referencing my notes a lot in this episode, just so I get the numbers right. So you may hear some clicking, mouse clicking, that's me <laugh> referencing my notes. And I also wanna say that this report focuses on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. So, sorry, my friends on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. Y'all know it's one of my favorite platforms, not included in this report. And other platforms like Pinterest, YouTube are not included in this report either. Now, this report covers 14 industries. They've kind of put it into these categories. We've got alcohol, fashion, financial services, health and beauty, higher ed, home decor, influencers, media, which I put myself in the media category, nonprofits, retail, sports teams, tech and software and travel.
So it focuses in on engagement as well. We're gonna also cover things like hashtags, best types of posts, and those sorts of things as well. Now, there are some key takeaways from this report. So I wanna just dive into those right off the top. Number one, brands are seeing less organic engagement this year. That means engagement rates are declining across the board and, for the third year in the row for Instagram, actually we're seeing declines. So if you are posting on Instagram and you're saying, Hey, I feel like my posts aren't getting that much engagement, or as much engagement as they used to, you're in the majority here. Facebook and Twitter actually have been holding steady with slight declines, but pretty on par with what we've seen in previous years. The second takeaway is that posting frequency has also declined for many brands.
On Instagram it's about the same, but Facebook and Twitter took about a 20% decrease this year. Over previous years, we did see an increase in one area, which oddly enough is holiday hashtags. So anything around holidays seems to be popping off right now. The fourth takeaway is that everybody should be posting reels on Instagram. Like reels have Deron carousel posts, although I'm already seeing that shift. So y'all know, trends come and go, but reels as of the time of releasing this are the most popular type of posts when it comes to engagement on Instagram. And then across the board. The fifth takeaway is that TikTok is topping the charts with a median engagement rate of 5.6899999999999995%. So it is right now the industry leader as far as engagement. That means more people are engaging on TikTok way more than other platforms. Now, to kind of dive into how Rival IQ collects this data.
So they measure engagement as a measurable interaction on both organic and boosted, meaning paid ads, social posts, and they include things like likes, comments, favorites, retweets, shares, and reactions. So their engagement rate is calculated by taking those measurable interactions that I just mentioned, dividing it by follower count, and you get the engagement rate. Okay? So for example when we do this for our clients, we usually do it in a 30 day period. So taking all of the measurable engagement likes common state for retweets, shares, reactions, and then dividing it by that follower count of that period. So, you know, if they're, if they have, let's say, a thousand followers, and collectively in that period, those posts got an average of 10 engagements. Their engagement rate is 1%, okay? 1%. So that's how you would measure that engagement rate. So in this report, specifically, the rival IQ as a company took 150 brands randomly from each industry in their database of over 200 companies.
And the companies had to have an active presence on these platforms as of January, 2023. And their sizes are between 25,000 and a million. Okay? So that's with Facebook, with Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. They had to have at least 5,000 followers to be considered for this report. So those of y'all who are under these numbers, we actually see engagement rates higher with lower accounts because of how it works, how social media works. When you have a smaller following, they tend to be more intentional, they tend to be more engaged. The more followers you have, the more chances you have of those followers dropping off, not being active, losing interest in your brand, et cetera, et cetera. So for reference, each of these accounts have massive amounts of engagement that they're, that they're sorting through. Facebook engagement was over 570 million on Instagram. We're looking at 2.3 billion engagements.
Twitter had 315 million. And TikTok had 500.8 billion engagement points that we are looking at in this data. I don't do, I'm nerding out about this data. Now, benchmarking is important because when we think about the success that you can get on social media, it's not just about your followers, it's not even just about the likes on a specific post posting frequency plays a role in here, the type of media, the hashtag the industry that you're in. And so when we're looking at just metrics alone, they don't really tell you how those metrics are valuable. And so when we think about a benchmark, it really lets us know how that metric is valuable and gives us actually success indicators. We call this key performance indicators. When you're looking at, you know, specific metrics. So for instance, in my business, when I'm thinking about engagement, for instance, I'm not just looking at the public engagement like likes and comments, I'm also looking at things like shares and saves.
For me, the metrics are great, but when I think about how it indicates interest, I wanna see a reason behind the metrics. Likes and comments to me are just too light. And also when we think about benchmarking, I wanna make sure that I'm not in my feelings about my engagement, right? So sometimes we look at engagement and we go, oh my gosh, my engagement is low. But we look at the industry standard, we can say, oh, my engagement is on par or higher or lower than what is standard in the industry. It can really give you context to what's happening in your brand. But I also recommend doing this same benchmarking exercise for yourself. But it also can be validating when I say Instagram engagement has been low across the board for my clients, I'm also looking at the benchmarking going, oh, that tracks for what's happening in the industry at large.
So I don't need to so much panic about it, but I definitely need to analyze it and make informed decisions on this. All right, let's dive into Facebook engagement. So Facebook engagement rate per post, remember, engagement rate is the total number of interactions on that post divided by number of followers is 0.06% <laugh> across the board. So if you are a Facebook page and you're wondering why you're not getting engagement 0.06% is standard across the board. Now, there are some outliers here. When we look at specific industries like sports teams have 0.24% engagement. They're actually the highest engagement rate right now, the lowest engagement rate, the fashion industry 0.02% engagement. And we're getting like super tiny into the numbers anyways here. Now what's interesting is that even though certain companies like media companies have 0.04% engagement, they post the most 73 posts per week in the media category. And again, I kind of put myself in that category as a content creator. But across the board right now, about five posts per week on Facebook for all industries analyzed.
Let's move on to Instagram. So when we look at Instagram data median across the board is 0.47%. Okay? So 0.47%, and this is a 30% decrease from last year. So if your content isn't performing as well, your hard-earned content is not performing as well as you hoped it would, it's because as a collective, we saw 30% decrease in engagement this year. Now a few outliers those in higher ed, so higher education companies, 2.5% engagement rate on Instagram right now. We also see sports teams, again, have a really high engagement rate at 1.49%. My category media is at about 0.53% when it comes to engagement rate. And when it comes to posts per week, about 4.6 posts per week. So very similar to what Facebook was experiencing, but we also saw a decrease across the board with industries like the amount that they're posting on Instagram.
So when people say you should be posting on Instagram three to five times a day, that's not normal. Like that is definitely an outlier number. Again, we don't necessarily wanna say that that's good or bad, but it, it is an outlier and it is relevant to kind of take a look at what is performing well. Now, sports teams post way more 15.6%, and this report is only looking at feed posts, not stories, by the way. So that is a little bit of an outlier as well. But they did look at Instagram reels that were posted to the feed. All right, we're gonna take a quick break. When we come back, I'm gonna look at Twitter and TikTok.
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All right, Twitter engagement is at 0.035%. So when we think about Twitter engagement versus Facebook engagement, it's actually quite a bit lower. So Twitter engagement is the lowest, which is not surprising to me, especially with the Elon Musk takeover and kind of all of the drama happening over there. It's wild right now. So when we look at the types of brands that get the most engagement on Twitter sports teams, again, lots of engagement 0.07% as well as higher ed and influencers as well as nonprofits. Now, when we think about the industries that get the lowest engagement, media once again is low. It's like so low, it's almost on even a number, 0.009% <laugh>, oh, quite low on Twitter. Most people post about 3.9 times a week on Twitter. But when we think about the posting frequency, I told you media is so low in engagement, but they are the highest definite outlier in posts per week.
70, 70 posts per week on Twitter, which is like bananas to me, <laugh> that people are posting that much with media brands just, just posting like a ridiculous amount. All right, let's go on to TikTok engagement. So TikTok engagement is the highest out of all brands, 5.6899999999999995%. It's the only one that's a median is above 1% engagement rate. And remember, engagement rate is the number of interactions on an individual post versus the number of followers you have. And the reason why TikTok has the most engagement is because they're delivering content to your feed, not based on the number of followers you have. You could have zero followers and still have people consume your content, which I think is the magic of TikTok. And next week, I'm gonna actually dive into all of the things magical about TikTok. But when we look at engagement rate by industry, higher ed has the highest engagement rate at 16.29%.
So y'all, if you say your people are not on TikTok, woo, the data is showing that they are, and they are engaging in consuming with this content. Sports teams are next and 9.18%. And my favorite one to follow is the Savannah Bananas. If y'all don't, if you don't know, go look up the Savannah Bananas on TikTok. So much fun. Travel brands also doing very well on TikTok financial services, also doing really well. One of our clients, The College Investor actually just got another TikTok video go viral at over a million views. And they're a financial consulting media company, I guess. Every single industry has over 2% engagement rate. The lowest is health and beauty at 2.63% engagement. Everyone else is like crushing it on engagement. So when I say TikTok is on fire right now, not making it up, y'all not making it up. Now, most people post about 1.75 videos per week. This is again, analyzing business accounts. I do think influencer accounts post more than that just for the nature of what they do, but 1.75 times per week is manageable. So a little less than twice a week.
Now, when we look at this over time, if you're feeling like, man, you know, engagement has gone down just for a little snapshot. In 2019, Instagram engagement was 1.22%, and as of the end of 2022, it was 0.04%. Okay? Facebook in 2019 was 0.09%, so quite a bit lower, and then now it's 0.06% <laugh>. So when you're thinking about man, engagement seems like it's going down. Yeah, that, that's because it is, that's because it is. All right, let's take a look at one of the categories just for an example of the deep dive that they go into this data. So I'm looking at travel right now, and in the travel industry, they're looking at brands like Marriott International, the Ritz Carlton. I don't, I don't know some of these logos, but they have the logos in there. Oh, Four Seasons, Sandals Resort, there they go.
So when we take a look at some of these metrics, one of the interesting things is the hashtags. So looking at hashtag Christmas tree outperformed all of the other hashtags. Also Christmas decor, happy New Year festive season, New Year's Eve. So some of those hashtags really outperformed in this category on Instagram. And the other platforms are very similar. We have International Women's Day and then we have holidays on TikTok as well. And so when we think about the hashtags, any holiday related hashtags seem to outperform. And when I did a spot check of some of the other categories, I saw this work best as well. It got me thinking, though, this is where the art and the science piece comes together. You know, people love to celebrate holidays. So I think it's as in our nature as humans to engage with holiday posts more than some of the other posts.
So I think my theory, this is where the art comes in, that's why people engage with those posts, is they probably just are a little bit more prone to being engaged with from a user perspective. So as I wrap up this podcast episode, I wanna talk a little bit about adapting to change. This is a conversation I just recently had with my team, which is the whiplash that we feel in the social media industry is kind of like a collective experience. What you're feeling, I'm feeling my team is feeling other business owners are feeling, but the data isn't lying about the decrease in engagement that we're seeing on social media, especially for businesses. You know, we have this challenge ahead of us, of how do we stay agile and adapt to trends while also staying true to our brand, while also analyzing the data and making sure that our strategies are working.
So my goal for you, dear listener and watcher of this podcast is to help you stay relevant. And a lot of times it's having an omnichannel approach to social media marketing. So, over the next couple of episodes, I'm gonna dive into this even deeper. Next week, I am gonna talk about TikTok because mm, I just love what's happening over on that platform. The data isn't lying about the types of engagement we're seeing on that platform. I wanna give you tools and resources to help monitor this and stay on track.
Make sure you're subscribed to my YouTube channel because I have videos coming out with topics like, how do you automatically repost videos from TikTok to other platforms so that you are leveraging, you know, and getting as much reach as you possibly can. And you know, I wanna help you optimize your social media so that you can see your own engagement be higher than these industry benchmarks that we saw today.
Thanks so much for listening to another episode of The Savvy Social Podcast. Make sure you rate and subscribe everywhere you listen to the podcast. Helps push the show back into the top 100. We're not the top 100 anymore. We kind of dipped a little bit, so we could use all the support, we can share it with a friend. Make sure to leave a five star review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and I'll see you back here soon. Bye for now.