Social media trends move at light speed, and keeping up with the best engagement practices at any given moment can be the difference between digital campaign virality and vanquishment—and social media video is all the rage right now, according to new research from customer engagement platform Emplifi, which provides marketers and communicators with deep insights into Q2 2023 social media behavior and trends to help them stay on top of these fast-moving shifts.
One of the most significant findings from the firm’s new Unleashing the Power of Video: Key Trends Driving Social Media Engagement report is the success of Instagram Reels compared to other short-form video content. According to the data, Instagram Reels outperform all other content types on the social app, generating 55 percent more interactions than single-image posts on Instagram, and 29 percent more interactions than standard video posts.
“Because the social media landscape is evolving and changing at such a rapid pace, it’s crucial marketers have access to insights that can help them earn the biggest bang for their marketing bucks. A key insight from this report is that despite an ongoing decline in engagement on Instagram last quarter, the platform still delivers the highest engagement rates for brands compared to Facebook and Twitter,” said Zarnaz Arlia, chief marketing officer at Emplifi, in a news release.
Another interesting finding from the report involves Twitter verification trends by brands. After analyzing more than 40,000 brand Twitter accounts, Emplifi discovered 4 percent were verified on April 11, 2023, a week before the platform began charging an $8 per month subscription fee for its Twitter Blue status. By June 30, that number doubled to 9 percent of brands having the Twitter Blue verification badge.
Instagram for brands: A high-level overview
Instagram Reels and Instagram Carousels (multi-image posts) are the top-performing content for brands on the platform, with Reels shared by brands earning 75 median interactions per post in Q2 and Carousels earning 74 median post interactions.
Interestingly, when looking at Instagram ads overall, only 11 percent are Reels placements—still, 87 percent of brands used Instagram Reels for ad placements, at least once in Q2 2023, representing a 26 percent increase year-over-year. Overall, Instagram Reels usage by brands is up 86 percent compared to Q2 2022, with 90 percent of brands posting, at least, one Reel in Q2 of this year.
It would be remiss not to point out the fact that Instagram Reels engagement has been trending downward for the last five quarters, dropping 30 percent year-over-year in Q2 2023. The competition for engagement on the platform is steep, not to mention the recent deprioritization of Reels by Meta, Instagram’s parent company. These data points make clear how important it is for brands to diversify their social content, embracing more than one channel for their video marketing efforts.
Facebook Reels: Still playing catch up
While Instragram Reels are exploding, Facebook Reels are not seeing the same traction. In fact, Facebook Live Video dominates all other video content on the platform, earning nearly four-times the number of interactions compared to static video posts. (It’s worth noting that Facebook Reels have not been around as long as Instagram Reels, having been released two years after Instagram launched its most popular video format. As more brands cross-post their Instagram Reel content to Facebook, marketers may see a shift in engagement.)
Only 31 percent of brands used Facebook Reels for ad placement in Q2 2022, but that number jumped to 82 percent during the same time period this year, representing an astounding 166 percent jump in usage.
What’s happening on Twitter?
With all the recent changes happening at Twitter, the platform has been a hot topic among social media marketers and advertisers. For the brands wanting to make the most of their activity on the social network, the data found that tweets containing GIFs earned twice as many interactions as those with links, and 33 percent more than text-based status updates.
TikTok vs Instagram Reels
TikTok user growth is continuing to soar. Emplifi’s data revealed that the average brand saw a fivefold increase in TikTok followers in Q2 2023. While its ability to gain new users is impressive, Instagram Reels is still outperforming TikTok content when comparing median reach, median interactions, and median video views. Meanwhile, TikTok wins in terms of median engagement rates when compared to Instagram Reels.
“It is time marketers fully embrace their video efforts, and that means everything from Instagram Reels and Facebook Live Video to TikTok content and even GIFs on Twitter. Short-form video is exploding and the brands that lean into this trend will gain a major competitive edge,” said Arlia.
The report also includes actionable social media marketing tips based on the findings, serving as a “cheat sheet” for social media marketers wanting to boost their brand’s social efforts.