One of the first questions I get asked when I benchmark a clients social profiles is ‘but how does that compare to everyone else?”. It’s a hard question to answer, mostly because good NZ-based social media stats are hard to come by, which is why there is so much buzz around the Digital In 2018 report recently released by Hootsuite and We Are Social.
While there’s plenty in the report for NZ Marketers to be excited about, but what interested me was the social media analytics data that I could use to benchmark my client’s results against. While there are always so many variables to take into account, sometimes it’s handy to step back a bit and just see how far above (or below) average your own results are.
The report uses 12 months of data from January to December 2017 – so it’s both robust and recent.
As is typical with social media, the minute something is published it’s out of date. But the fact these numbers perfectly pre-date the recent Facebook algorithm changes, and the more recent change to the way Facebook reports organic reach, makes them twice as valuable. Not only can we use these numbers to benchmark our current performance, we can also use them to track any effects from these two changes.
Benchmarking Organic Reach
There’s been a lot of chat about organic reach lately, yet if you look at the report below it seems, collectively at least, we don’t have too much to stress about. Now admittedly the way this report calculates reach is far from ideal – they’ve taken the reach of a piece of content and divided it by the number of fans the page had on the day it posted the content to create an ‘engagement rate’.
There’s a lot wrong with calculating reach this way – it doesn’t account for content going beyond your fanbase (either organically or through paid media) – but it does give a nice big sexy number which is why it is so commonly used. But if you calculate your own reach using the same formula, you can see how you compare – which is at least something.
When it comes to reach we’re doing pretty well. Compared to global averages our community growth is healthier, our organic reach is higher, and more of us are using paid media to achieve our social media goals.
So how do you compare? Crunch the numbers and see which country you match closest with! (If you need help, let me know!).Share this blog post with someone who could use these numbers to benchmark their own results against.Click To Tweet
When it comes to engagement, we could be doing better. It seems we’ve got photo and link posts pretty much sorted, but there’s room for improvement when it comes to video.
You can use these numbers to benchmark your own results against by taking the total number of interactions (reactions, likes, comments, link clicks, other clicks, video views) and dividing it by the reach to create a percentage based ‘engagement rate’.
Again, not my preferred method of tracking engagement. I prefer to use an ‘interaction rate’ based on total interactions as a percentage of impressions. You end up with a smaller, less sexier number, but one that’s more easily comparable with results from other platforms where reach isn’t available, and more like the results reported by other digital marketing channels. But that’s a whole other blog post.
Overall we’re below global average, particularly when it comes to video content.
And we’re waaaay down the engagement rate list. Think you’re doing better – crunch the numbers and see where you fit! (If you need help, let me know!).
Engagement rates have become even more critical with the recent changes to the Facebook algorithm (for a jargon-free, sky-is-falling free explanation of those changes, read this article).
If the content you want to create doesn’t add value, won’t create meaningful interactions, and can’t provide a sensible answer to the “why should I care, why should I share?” question, then you may need to go back to the drawing board.Share this blog post with someone who could use these numbers to benchmark their own results against.Click To Tweet
Does Benchmarking Matter?
Yes. Absolutely. You bet.
Auditing your social channels and creating benchmarks for key metrics is a great way of finding out what you’ve been doing right, where you need to improve, and what targets you need to put in place to meet your business objectives. Comparing the results from each piece of content against your benchmarks is a quick and easy way to figure out what formats, topics and conversations work best, and where to focus your content production resources.
Feel like your social channels need to be audited and benchmarked? If you an NZ business, get in touch.
Polly Williams is a social media specialist with 20 years’ experience working agency-side in digital and social media. She now runs Social Coach, a small consultancy which gives 1:1 practical, actionable social media advice that works. If you think social media could be doing more for your business, get in touch and let’s get your social sorted.