Mavrck, a micro-influencer marketing platform, last week published a report that compared how Facebook engagement levels with both user-generated posts and brand-generated posts changed over the course of 2016. The “Facebook User-Generated Content (UGC) Benchmark Report 2017 established that average engagements per post, engagements per user, and posts per user have decreased.
Facebook User Engagement Study 2017
The study analyzed over 25 million user-generate Facebook posts published between January 2016 and December 2016. The posts analyzed were aggregated from the first-party authentication of one million micro-influencers, defined as users with between 500 and 5,000 Facebook friends.
Among the key takeaways from the study are:
- User engagement in 2016 was lower compared to 2015: There was a 15.14 percent decrease in engagements per post in 2016 compared to 2015. Users also saw a 11.41 percent year over year decrease in total number of engagements on their posts.
- Likes, Comments, and Shares saw year over year decreases: When compared to 2015 user engagement statistics, 2016 saw a 7.87 percent decrease in Likes per post, a 37.47 percent decrease in Comments per post, and a 27.8 percent decrease in Shares per post.
- Facebook users posted less original content in 2016: Year over year, there was a 29.49 percent decrease in posts per user.
- Facebook successfully reversed seven declining months of News Feed engagement: Facebook’s 2016 algorithm changes, which focused on prioritizing both video content and content shared by users, reversed 7 consecutive months of declining News Feed engagement, which occurred between September 2015 and March 2016.
- Users engaged more with each other by the end of 2016 than they did at the beginning: There was been 26.06 percent increase in engagement per post between January and December 2016.
- Likes and Comments also rebounded during 2016: Over the course of 2016, there was a 30.7 percent increase in likes per post, and a 19.84 percent increase in comments per posts. Shares per post decrease by 4.81 percent over this period.
- User-generated posts drove much higher engagement than brand-generated posts: User-generated content featuring a brand drove 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content.
- Average engagement per post was significantly higher for more influential users: Mavrck’s analysis shows a clear correlation between a user’s influence and the average engagement that user saw per post. On average, the earned engagement rate for users in the 75th influencer percentile was 3.5x higher.
“This (information) is critical for marketers to understand when considering ways to reach their target audience in the News Feed,” said Lyle Stevens, CEO of Mavrck, whose company report also features guidance for marketers on how they can most effectively use Facebook to connect with their intended audiences.
Facebook Algorithms Favor User-generated Posts in News Feed
Recent Facebook algorithm changes have placed more emphasis on content from friends and family in the News Feed. This has led to user-generated posts earning about 7x more engagement than brand-generated content, which calls for brands and marketers to adapt their Facebook marketing tactics. Brands can add influencer marketing to their marketing mix.
“For marketers, the greatest opportunity to reach your target audience on Facebook is by encouraging existing customers to create user-generated content about your brand, rather than simply publishing and promoting brand-generated content,” added Stevens. “With user-generated posts earning 7x more engagement than brand-generated content, I expect to see more companies ramp up their influencer marketing and digital word-of-mouth efforts as factors like ad load come into play this year.”