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Social media benchmarks: Instagram generates highest level of organic interactions for brands

by | Mar 4, 2024 | Public Relations

The social media wheel of fortune was spinning wildly again in Q4 2023, and new research from customer engagement platform Emplifi provides deep insights to help social media marketers and advertisers align their social strategies with current performance trends for Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and X after analyzing both organic and paid ad activity for thousands of global brands.

The firm’s new 2024 Social Media Benchmarks report reveals that Instagram Reels and Carousels are the top-performing format on Instagram for organic content, with 65 median post interactions. Meanwhile, brands experienced a 39 percent drop in engagement on TikTok organic content in Q4 compared to Q1 2022, but only 9 percent compared to Q3 2022—meaning that the bulk of TikTok’s decline in engagement happened during the first three quarters of 2022. Still, Instagram continues to beat TikTok for organic video views—a trend Instagram has maintained since the beginning of 2022. For both Instagram and TikTok, long- and medium-video lengths have outperformed shorter videos, a finding first revealed last quarter. 

social media trends

In terms of paid advertising results, ads are becoming increasingly more affordable on X, with cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand (CPM) steadily decreasing between 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, Facebook CPM and CPC have remained consistent throughout the same time period. When analyzing click-through rates (CTRs), the researchers discovered Facebook delivered the highest CTRs, followed by X and Instagram, respectively. 

“It is such an interesting time for social media marketers and advertisers. The number of tools available to create social content has increased accessibility for a wider variety of brands,” said Ohad Hecht, CEO of Emplifi, in a news release. “While the cost to produce high-performing posts has never been as affordable–generative AI being one of the forces driving productivity enhancements with a reduction to cost. As engagement trends are shifting, it makes it difficult to know where to allocate social media marketing budgets”.

social media trends

“Marketers need all the insights they can get to create strategic campaigns that deliver measurable outcomes. Because brands rely on social media marketing to bridge the gap between their biggest marketing, commerce, and customer care goals, the insights we’ve uncovered will help social media marketers fine-tune their strategies as they adjust to rapid changes in engagement across multiple social platforms,” added Hecht. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the most significant insights from the report: 

Instagram and Facebook saw the highest engagement rates for organic content in two years, while TikTok’s organic engagement continued to drop

The holiday surge helped increase organic engagement on Instagram for brands, driving a 9 percent jump over the previous quarter. TikTok’s engagement numbers remain strong when compared to Facebook and X. However, post interactions per 1K impressions have been declining—down 26 percent from the start of 2022. 

Instagram Reels and Carousels were the top-performing organic content on Instagram in Q4 2023.

Brands on Instagram are experiencing tremendous success with Reels and Carousels with 65 median post interactions, while images received 45 median post interactions.

The best time of day to post organic content? It’s still the afternoon

The firm looked into Instagram and TikTok brand profiles in Europe and found the highest engagement rates were for social posts published in the afternoon, and particularly those on Friday afternoons.

social media trends

Facebook Live drove massive results for brands

This channel generated 300 percent more engagement than Facebook Reels or Carousels. Meanwhile, brands posting organic videos on Instagram saw higher median interactions and median reach rates than image-centric posts. 

Ad spend on Facebook and Instagram reached its all-time high for the year in Q4 2023

It’s no surprise that ad spend reached record-breaking levels during the last quarter of the year. What’s most interesting are the results: CPCs for Facebook and Instagram ads remained largely steady throughout 2023, but CPCs for ads on X experienced a 22 percent drop midway through the year—by Q4 2023, CPCs on X were less than half than in Q2 2022. 

Instagram main feed ads represented the highest CPCs, but also led to a sizable increase in CTRs

In Q4 2023, ads on Instagram’s main feed saw a 24 percent increase in CTRs from the previous quarter, and respectively, ads on Stories had a 22 percent increase.

social media trends

“The biggest takeaway from our research is that social media marketers must be flexible and take an agile approach to their social media strategies for both organic and paid campaigns,” said Hecht. “Social channels—and user engagement on each—continues to evolve. It’s imperative that your social media strategy evolves right along with the platforms and that your content choices align with the content formats that are winning the most engagement. It’s the fast path to social media marketing success.”  

Download the report here.

Emplifi’s analysis is based on Q4 2023 data and year-on-year comparisons, downloaded at the beginning of January 2024.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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