Falling Engagement Rates: Instagram VS Facebook
Photo Credit: Sprout Social
Brands are capitalizing on social media traffic
Social Media has become a part of our daily lives. We use it to keep in touch with our friends and loved ones, share news, get out the vote, and, increasingly, we use it to shop for goods and services. According to Pew Research 65% of American adults use social networking sites. And, it’s not just millennials driving those percentages. Our numbers show that 11.25 million adults age 65 and older frequent social media sites. To capitalize on all of this traffic, a growing number of marketing agencies and brands are turning to social media to make connections with consumers.
Facebook is getting crowded
So far the social platform that marketers are targeting more than any other is Facebook. That makes sense, considering that 71% of internet users hold Facebook accounts. Companies are attracted to this traffic, just as they are in traditional advertising, and they have responded by incorporating Facebook into their marketing strategies. In fact, more than 80% of US companies use Facebook as part of their marketing strategy.
Is all this traffic good for the state of marketing on Facebook? Facebook thinks it is. Their revenue is up. However, something is happening that marketers should be paying attention to. In June 2015, average engagement rates for Facebook ads dropped 6% from May, and for the biggest pages it dropped 25% in the same period.
The same thing may be happening to Facebook that is happening to other forms of digital advertising. Users are so inundated with ads that they are beginning to tune them out. This is a form of noise induced attention deficit. This drop off in engagement means that brands will have to spend more money on more ads to get the results they want. Meanwhile, Facebook revenues continue to climb.
Instagram now holds the greatest value
One of the fastest growing platforms available to brands is Instagram. Facebook may still control the lion’s share of users, but 42% of adults who are online use multiple social networking sites. According to the think-tank L2 Intelligence, Instagram grew its user base to 150 million monthly active users in half the time that it took Twitter and in two years less than Facebook.
Instagram users are dedicated. At least 57% of Instagram users visit the site at least once a day, while 35% visit multiple times per day. At the same time Instagram’s user base is growing, it has less than half the marketing traffic with only 34% of marketers currently active on the platform. Less traffic equals less noise, which converts to higher engagement. This may be why Instagram engagement rates are 15 times higher than Facebook.
Marketing on a saturated platform is inefficient as marketers are forced to spend more to get less audience attention. Marketers willing to incorporate Instagram into their social marketing strategy will get more bang for their buck. They will enjoy a large dedicated user base with less than half the noise and much higher engagement rates. But they must capitalize on the value of Instagram’s arbitrage before it’s gone. They must not wait until everyone else is doing it.