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Finding The Right Engagement Rate for your Facebook Page in 2014

Not all brands are created equal, and neither are the definitions of social media success. Finding the right engagement rate for your brand’s Facebook page largely depends on these factors: fan size, post frequency and industry. Using data from over 43,000 Facebook Pages of various sizes and industries, we’ve identified healthy engagement rates to help benchmark your brand and better quantify social media success this year. After all, we’re not all selling sexy cars (you'll see) - so it's time we stopped acting like user engagement is a one-size-fits-all metric.

Engagement by Page Size: Yes, It Matters

A crucial factor for finding the right engagement rate for your Page is its size and how often you post. A small Page – for example, a local restaurant that posts daily specials and food reviews – might have a more dedicated, close knit group of followers than, say, a massive global brand with millions of fans.

The data below shows a steady decline in engagement as Page size increases, and a significant drop once it gains over 9,999 fans. As a Page grows, it’s core group of advocates get diluted and there is an increasing need to put your advertising budget behind your content in order to reach the right group of people.

An important metric to consider when evaluating engagement rate, which is often neglected, is the frequency of admin posts. Consider this: the average Page engagement rate is calculated by dividing absolute interactions (likes, comments, shares) by total fans.

This means that a Page that posts 3 times a day will most likely have a higher Page engagement rate than a Page that posts once a day. This simple truth justifies the need to measure the average Post engagement rate. This formula (absolute interactions divided by number of posts in a given period divided by total fans) takes frequency into account and paints a smarter picture of engagement.

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Engagement by Industry: Cars Rule, Phones Drool

Industry-wide monitoring of engagement rates exemplifies how some industries are far above others in terms of post engagement. Those that aren't blowing anyone out of the water might want to look into different measures of engagement and see how they are performing according to something like Reach.

We looked at engagement rates 7 months ago (a lifetime in social media) and found that the Automotive industry still leads in engagement. With an average post engagement rate of 0.58%, Automotive is 0.1 percentage points ahead of the next closest leading industry, Alcohol.

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True Measurement: Reach Engagement Rate

So far, we have looked at two ways to benchmark your Facebook Page’s engagement rate – by Page size and industry. And we have touched on two ways to calculate your Page’s engagement rate – average Page engagement rate and average Post engagement rate.

Now we introduce a third metric that is really the holy grail of engagement – Reach Engagement Rate (available to Socialbakers Analytics clients). With the ever-increasing rise of News Feed ads and a Page’s ability to reach well beyond their fans with targeted advertising, the standard engagement rate formula starts to lose power. It becomes clear that we need to consider actual reach and absolute interactions to achieve a more accurate understanding of engagement.

The Reach Engagement equation is as follows: absolute interactions (likes, comments, shares)divided by unique page impressions (paid and organic reach).

Because data on Page reach is not publicly available, it’s difficult to benchmark your brand based on this metric. However, brands should use Reach Engagement Rate to measure their true performance and gain insight into which content really works for the people they reach.

While interactions will vary greatly based on Page size, below are averages for some of the top brands within 10 major industries.

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Engagement is Down for Brands

Yes, the rumors are true, engagement is down across the board for brands on Facebook. After Facebook announced a change to their News Feed display on December 2nd, 2013 we have measured a clear drop in Page engagement rates for all industries.

But these numbers don’t spell Doom’s Day for marketers. As CEO Jan Rezab says, stop complaining about Facebook’s News Feed changes and focus on the real issue: more content, and more Pages being followed means more competition for brands looking to market on Facebook.

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Our recent Social Insights global tour revealed that in 2009 the average Page made 7 posts per month. In 2013 that number soared to 40! That’s more than a 500% increase in content fighting to for space in users’ News Feeds. And that’s not even accounting for Zuckerburg’s Law that says, “social sharing [among users] functions exponentially.”

To learn more about how social media metrics are changing join Socialbakers and other industry leaders at Engage 2014 London, an event by social media marketers, for social media marketers. Remember, if you're not Engaged, you're not a social marketer!

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  • John Riley Grubb

    I completely disagree with this method of calculating Average Post Engagement Rate. (Total Interactions (I'm interpreting this as consumptions) divided by the number of posts in a time frame divided by your number of fans). The size of your fanbase and the number of posts per day obviously affects the Organic Reach of your posts, as well as the percentage of your fans your posts reach, but this should NOT be considered a factor of an Average Post Engagement Rate. The page I manage has over 2 million fans and has posted over 20,000 posts. I've found that a far more accurate and useful Average Post Engagement Rate for a time period is:

    Average Post Engagement Rate = (Sum of 'Total Post Consumptions' / (Sum of 'Total Post Reach')

  • Taavi Kuisma

    In today's commercial Facebook environment less is really more. I find the above numbers rather high and optimistic for most brands considering the dramatic drop in organic engagement and reach. When we are talking about 1-2% organic reach, reaching the above engagement rate can be tough. Thus post less, find what works for your fan base and tell a story that is contextually relevant. By posting less we have actually increased our overall engagement. But good content aside, it is crucial to promote content regularly. Having an "always on" Facebook media plan is essential. Companies need to be always ready to boost the content and react fast to whatever is happening in the respective community or the media scene as a whole. But as SocialBakers recently highlighted, maybe engagement rate as a metric has less of importance today in comparison to overall interactions. And might I add the quality of those interactions and those interacting on the Page(s).

  • Carly Guglielmelli

    Nice to hear from you again! Interesting perspective regarding how frequently brands should post. Do you feel the same way about other social networks - ones less likely to have your aunts, mom, and uncles as connections? The fun part of being a user on Facebook is you can really dictate what's in your News Feed. Interactions and clicks are like mini votes being sent to Facebook. All brands need to find the right balance that works for their audience. 5-6 times per day might work for the likes of Mashable ... but then again, we're not all Mashables.

    Thanks again for adding your perspective Commander!

  • Avtar Ram Singh

    Hello. It's me again. I think the expected engagement rate for a post organically should ridiculously drop now - given how organic reach has been cut down by a ridiculous amount. Also - one of the major reasons why organic reach has hit such a low is because brands were sharing 2-3 posts a day on their pages. I think Facebook's initial intention was that brands will use the page to talk about new product launches, interesting concepts - post maybe 2-3 times a week and therefore reach a much larger audience. But since brands decided to go all out on it - posting 3 times a day, the newsfeed got cluttered.

    So "posting more" isn't a very... well, how do I put this - ethical, yes, ethical recommendation to make. It wasn't one earlier as well. It was basically saying, "Share more posts with your fans that they'll love!" - which basically translated to "Spam your fans 3 times a day with self promotional garbage that they might just like maybe!"

    There are some "social media influencers" out there, who are actually saying that brands should now start posting 5-6 times on their page.

    ... I'm lost for words.

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