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Is Facebook marketing in its death throes? New report finds total interactions decreased more than 50 percent in 18 months

Total interactions received by the top 20,000 brands on Facebook decreased from 29.1 billion in 2017 to 12.8 billion in 2018. The total number of posts published increased 25 percent over the same time frame.
by on 9th August 2018

Total interactions received by Facebook’s top 20,000 brands have decreased more than 50 percent in the last 18 months, according to a joint study conducted and published by social tools Buzzsumo and Buffer.

The study analyzed the performance of 43 million posts published between Q1 of 2017 and Q2 of 2018. It reports that over the timeframe analyzed total interactions decreased from 29.1 billion to 12.8 billion.

It also reports a significant increase in the volume of content being published – total posts have increased from 72,000 posts per day (6.5 million per year) in 2017 to 90,032 posts per day (8.1 million per year) in 2018.

Interestingly, the report  found that image, not video, attracted the lion’s share of interactions from users – while image posts accounted for an average of 9,370 interactions per post in 2017, video posts only accounted for 5,486.

However, neither has fared well in 2018: image and video posts now account for an average of 3,453 and 2,863 interactions per post respectively.

The report comes at a time when marketers are increasingly struggling to leverage the social network to extend the visibility of their brands. Between 2012 and 2014, some reports suggest reach – the number of Facebook fans or followers who see a post – declined from 16% to 6%.

The same reports suggest reach may be as low as 2% for some Facebook pages with more than 50,000 fans. More recently, a report by Indivigital found that the average engagement of the world’s top 100 brands is just 0.12 percent.

The shift presents significant challenges and points of reflection for any industry, e.g. marketing and news, with a stake in the marketing viability or success of Facebook.

Then again, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive – while it may be harder than ever for brands to acquire sufficient organic visibility, Facebook’s revenue continues to increase year-on-year, and that’s largely fuelled by advertising.

In Q2 of 2018, it reported a profit of $5.1 billion on revenue of $13.2 billion. It’s also the world’s largest social network and has a significantly larger share of 18-24 year olds than any other platform.

The social network has also launched numerous policy and algorithmic changes in the last year, spanning tighter advertising restrictions and more advertising transparency to prioritizing local ahead of national news content and what it deems are “meaningful engagements”.

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