Facebook Engagement Rates
Hello! Thanks for your question about Facebook engagement rates. The short version is that average engagement rates for 2015 were 5.98%, 4.80% in 2016, and 4.32% in 2017. This shows that Facebook engagement rates are decreasing. Facebook engagement rates are decreasing. Reasons for this include updates in Facebook algorithms (news feed, deleting bots and unused accounts), advertisement costs and competition, and less original content. You will find a deep dive of my findings regarding the reasons for Facebook engagement rate decline below, and a detailed list of engagement numbers in the attached spreadsheet.
I can’t find any hard numbers for the United States or online retailers, so we had to use global data. Finding data from last year was also a big challenge. We have found exact numbers for Facebook brand engagement rates from May 2015 to January 2017, which can be found in the spreadsheet. These numbers from Locowise. Hundreds of leading social agencies, big and small, use Locowise every day. Therefore, their reports should be very accurate. They have many big clients (for example, TomTom). But we should assume that this is global data for brands. I have calculated some general rate changes (year by year). There was a -20% from 2015 to 2016 and a -10% from 2016 to 2017. Therefore, it has decreased by 28% when we compare 2015 to 2017 (2015 5.98% -> 2016 4.80% -> 2017 4.32%). I found month by month statistics for 2015 and 2016 Facebook engagement rates, which were added to the spreadsheet.
Reasons for engagement rate decline
According to January 2017 statistics, Facebook continues to be a challenging platform for companies looking for more engagement. Engagement rate was at 4.32 percent of the audience reached, which is the lowest since 2015. Video has the highest organic reach at 12.49 percent. Photos came in second at 10.18%, then links 7.21 percent, and status updates at 5.33 percent.
One of the biggest impact is costs. Advertising on Facebook is becoming more expensive as audience reach becomes increasingly more difficult. The share of posts promoted by Index brands on Facebook came in around 16 percent in 2016, and average interaction of each post that was promoted decreased 19 percent. Although the proportion of promoted Facebook posts remained the same among all Index brands, CPG and Luxury brands increased their Facebook post promotion significantly. Promoted posts now account for around 1/5 of all Facebook posts among CPG and Luxury brands.
Facebook's VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland, found that a reason for organic decline in audience reach is because Facebook is too saturated with content, which makes being on people's News Feed increasingly competitive. Second, Facebook is designed to display content that is most relevant to the user, as opposed to showing all the available content. In 2016, Facebook adjusted its News Feed algorithm to make it even more difficult to view new content by prioritizing content posted by friends and family over random pages. In the blog post announcing the algorithm change, Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom warned that pages could see a decline in organic reach, predicating it would be lower than 2% estimate in some cases.
Another reason for decline that is noted by experts is the large decrease in original content posted by users. In 2016, there was 29.49% decline in original content. This shows that users are engaging less on Facebook than they were in 2015, which also showed a 15.14% drop in engagements per post. In 2016, Facebook saw a 7.87% decrease in Likes per post, 37.47% less comments per post, and 27.8% decrease in shares per post.
To wrap it up, I couldn't find any hard numbers for the United States or online retailers, so we had to use global data. However, I found that the average engagement rates for 2015 were 5.98%, 4.80% in 2016, and 4.32% in 2017. The reasons for this include updates in Facebook algorithms, advertisement costs and competition, and less original content.
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