Our latest research study offers marketers and analysts insight into how recent Facebook algorithm changes affected user engagement with branded content and user-generated posts. Published today, the “Facebook User-Generated Content (UGC) Benchmark Report,” compares how engagement levels with both brand-generated posts and user-generated posts changed over the course of 2016. Our analysis of News Feed engagement trends also features guidance for marketers on how they can most effectively use Facebook to connect with their intended audiences in 2017.
“In 2016, Facebook made several significant updates to their news feed algorithm to place emphasis on content from friends and family,” said Lyle Stevens, CEO of Mavrck. “Using our massive dataset of consumer Facebook posts, we were able to determine how these algorithm changes impact the way consumers engage with content from friends and family on the social network. This is critical for marketers to understand when considering ways to reach their target audience in the News Feed.”
The report features an analysis of 25 million user-generated Facebook posts published between January 2016 and December 2016, aggregated from the first-party authentication of one million micro-influencers, defined as people with between 500 and 5,000 Facebook friends.
Key takeaways include:
- 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.
“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,” commented 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.”
To download a copy of the report, visit: http://info.mavrck.co/facebook-user-generated-content-benchmark-report-q1-2017.