Social Media Engagement Benchmarks

I regularly pore through benchmark reports that some of the best companies out there are doing regarding social media. Things can change quickly online and keeping on top of trends is important!

I always read more than one, since each covers different industries and uses different companies to make their comparisons and extract data.

Rival IQ recently shared their 2018 Social Media Industry Benchmark report, and it’s worth reading not only for the insights they provide, but also for the comparison graphics in the article and the additional links they share: a month-by-month breakdown plus a head to head comparison page where you can compare your profile to a competitor and see how you stack up against the competition.

Why Social Media Engagement is Important

But first, let’s talk about why engagement is important on social media, why I focus on it first rather than “followers”, and why it’s also not enough.

When you think about the algorithms that are used by the social media platforms that chooses what and how often posts are shown to people, understanding engagement’s role in those algorithms is key.

A more engaging post is going to in turn be shown to even more people, because the algorithm sees that it’s getting a lot of attention; whereas a post that has no engagement will continue to hear crickets.

I don’t recommend growing followers as the first strategy a business – especially an entrepreneur or start up – undertakes. I would rather have 10 followers on any of my social media platforms that are people who are interested in my messages and actually want to be there, rather than 1000 people that only 10 are at that level of engagement and commitment.


Example A: if I make a post and I have 10 people and all 10 of them engage, that’s a 100% engagement rate. Realistically that’s probably not going to happen, but we are using nice round numbers for this example.

Example B: same post, if I have 1000 people and 10 of them engage, that’s a 1% engagement rate.

So which example do you think the social media platform’s algorithm will then show more people? If you selected A, you would be correct.

And that is why engagement is important.

But also a quick caveat … engagement is usually a like, a comment, or a share. Those are great – critical – for the awareness piece of marketing. They aren’t the end-all be-all for actually making sales, because that revolves around them visiting your website or picking up the phone or somehow otherwise moving further along in your marketing funnel. So while you DO want to focus on engagement, and you can start by doing some experimenting and testing to make sure you know what types of posts get the most engagement for you, at some point you need to move beyond engagement on the social media platform and turn those engaged users into prospects that are in your sales funnel.

Findings from the Benchmark Report

If you’re interested in the geek side of social media and delving into data, I highly recommend you check out Rival IQ’s full report at the link above. Their charts and graphs in the article are very helpful for a visual representation of the numbers.

It can be even more helpful if you are in one of the industries that they provide specific data for: fashion, food & beverage, health & beauty, higher education, home decor, hotels & resorts, influencers, media, nonprofit, and sports teams. This industry-specific data can be even more helpful if you’re in that industry.

I’ll share a few of the general highlights from across all industries that I found most helpful.

Facebook Engagement Rate

The median engagement rate for Facebook business pages among all industries was 0.16% (this is 1/10 of 1%).

Food and beverage, and influencers, had the highest engagement rate across the board – which probably isn’t surprising – at 0.24%; and media had the lowest at 0.08%, which is a bit more surprising considering that they have the most posts per day.

The three biggest findings from Rival IQ that increase engagement are:

  • a consistent brand look and feel,
  • remembering that your audience follows you for a reason,
  • and giving them a good reason to engage.

Instagram Engagement Rate

The median engagement rate for Instagram business profiles across all industries was 1.73%. You can see that is notably higher than Facebook.

They studying done by higher education actually rakes in the higher engagement with a whopping 3.39%. Compare that to fashion, even with the 2nd highest number of average posts per day, sees a 0.92% engagement rate.

The strategies that they found to increase engagement rate on Instagram include:

  • posting regularly and frequently,
  • capitalizing on iconic images,
  • and including User Generated Content.

Twitter Engagement Rate

The median engagement rate for Twitter across all industries was the lowest among the three platforms, at 0.046% – so half of 1/10 of 1%. Hotels and resorts had the highest engagement rate at 0.072%, with media the lowest – despite the most average posts per day – at 0.013%.

They found that the engagement on Twitter is constantly shifting, and some of the strategies that increase engagement are:

  • remembering that conversations matter,
  • less can be more,
  • and mentions can widen your audience and drive additional engagement.


Some of the basics recommendations and best practices for social media still apply:

  • know your audience
  • understand the platform and use each platform’s unique strength to customize posts for that platform
  • always be testing strategies and reviewing the data provided by stats.

Which of these engagement numbers surprised you most? I was a bit surprised to see Twitter’s engagement rate SO very low. Did anything in particular surprise you?

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