For Major Brands “Engagement Has Plummeted” On Facebook

A new report from Facebook analytics provider Simply Measured finds consumer engagement with Facebook posts from a number of the top Interbrand companies is down dramatically year over year. [Update: see postscript below.] The firm says that monthly engagement is off an average of more than 40 percent since May 2013.

Total-Engagement Facebook

Two brands on the list, MTV and Harley Davidson, saw increased engagement. In other cases, however, overall engagement had declined 50 percent or more. And per-post engagement is off by an average of more than 50 percent for these companies, says Simply Measured.

The firm largely attributes these drops to the declining organic reach of Facebook posts — or “throttling” as some have called it — resulting from algorithm changes. The report also notes that brands have increased posting frequency to compensate for a loss in reach. Simply measured says that among the brands it looked at monthly posting had increased by 20 percent.

Simply Measured doesn’t claim that these data can be generalized to all brands or companies on Facebook. But it raises that question: how much is engagement off for everyone? Are these numbers generally representative of what’s happening?

I’ve asked Facebook for a comment and will update the post if/when I receive one.

Postscript: I was made aware this evening that the study had been pulled down, leaving a “not found” in its place. It’s not clear whether the data were later determined to be flawed or inaccurate or whether some other problem existed with the study. Once we learn more we’ll update this post.

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Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook: Advertising | Facebook: News Feed | Facebook: Pages | Facebook: Statistics | Social Media Marketing | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Jim Lastinger

    I’ve noticed similar declines for my brands. The “throttling” has me considering whether or not Facebook is worth the effort going forward.

  • Matt Mitchell

    Couldn’t agree more. Our organic reach on FB posts is next to nothing these days.

  • tomocean

    I’m done advertising on Facebook. It is a very poor value now. They are a victim of their own success. With so many entities competing, paying to appear on the news feed was inevitable. I would imagine that their basic algorithm is now: friends/family first, paid content next, and unpaid commercial content last.

  • Robert Sheasby

    My perception is FB decided to shift to a nearly total display ad model years ago, so there should be no surprise, or confusion, that the organic reach is being steadily throttled down according to their stated plan.

  • Stipp

    This is a case of digital sharecropping at its worst (or best, depending which side you’re on). It’s made us rethink why we devoted so much time helping make FB such a lynchpin in what we do. As a result we’ve actually made a more concerted effort to be our own hub and focus on getting better at generating content ourselves instead of propping them up with our ideas. Diversification is the name of our game now.

  • nikipayne

    I’ve seen a similar decline for a client of mine. We went from having an average reach of 1K-2K with an average engagement rate of about 15%, but now average reach and engagement has dropped as much as 50%. I’ve tried promoted posts, but that doesn’t really do much unless we start allocating a significant portion of our ad budget specifically to Facebook.

  • WindyCityParrot

    Our FB reach is stellar and I’m still on the fence about the entire effort.

  • Robert Nissenbaum

    “The drop in engagement may have nothing to do with the brand or FB’s changes and therefore of no real concern.

    What if Facebook users simple don’t feel as compelled to engage? Could they be burnt out? Feel like the engagement gets them nothing and is more a time waster? If that’s the case, then regardless of what a business/brand does, unless you stir up some controversy or ‘hit a nerve’ your fans will remain quiet. [However, being quiet does not necessarily translate to a negative sales impact].

    I’d be curious to see what affect the drop in engagement has on sales, brand identity, etc. I can tell you from first hand experience working with a number of clients over the years that engagement does not always directly correlate to sales. Just because I don’t engage doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention. I may see your post, stay silent yet still make a purchase or spend time on your website. How do you track that, especially if while I found you on Facebook [initially] and rather than following a link [on your page I] simply went to Google and searched [for you organically?]”

    Your engagement clearly dropped yet your efforts still resulted in revenue.

  • Bryant

    Maybe so, but I think it is more an issue of supply/demand and customer feedback.

    People will cry all day long about their organic reach dropping, but this is entirely because of customer feedback. I can’t tell you how many ads I still report to remove every week… finally I don’t see teeth-whitening ads anymore.

    If you want to increase your organic reach look into implicit and explicit sharing done through useful apps. Or look into custom story-telling for your web property.

    That’s the future of Facebook.

  • Bryant

    You need to make sure you’re targeting the correct audience. Our ad budget for Facebook is laughable (about $40 a month) and the posts we promote typically reach 3-4k and our network sized has increased 60% in 2 months.

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