You know what’s unique about your brand, but in a crowded social landscape, it’s a constant challenge to find the right messaging that rises above the noise. Leveraging social data is one way to help pinpoint what’s working: what type of content drives attention, who your audience is and how you should schedule your posts to reach them.
Unfortunately, finding the time to distill social data is also an ongoing challenge for marketers. Our Sprout Social Index: Above and Beyond found that only 56% of marketers are using social data to understand their audience, despite the fact that many of their key goals can be informed by social data.
As marketers work to increase their familiarity with social data, they often encounter some common roadblocks. You may have reports set up to measure your own key metrics, but in the course of trying to prove the value of social to your larger organization, you’ve likely run into questions about how you stack up to competitors or how your social presence “should” be going compared to your industry.
We know that getting a feel for how an entire industry segment operates on social is a big undertaking, which is why we reviewed data from our own 20,000+ customers to provide industry benchmarks on how different segments use social day-to-day–including how often they post, what volume of engagements and messages they can expect and what networks dominate.
Use these social media benchmarks to get a feel for how your brand is stacking up to peers in your industry. This data can help you level-set across your organization to be a better advocate for social, and help your marketing team focus resources where you might be falling behind the competition.
Read on for our findings on social media benchmarks across industries and networks, or skip to the detailed stats for your own industry.
Note: COVID-19 has recently disrupted routines in all areas of business and daily life. While the data in this article was pulled to review 2019, we’ve also recently updated our data on social media metrics and top times to post across industries – see those updates in our study on how COVID-19 has changed social media behavior.
We looked at overall social metrics across all platforms to get a sense of how different industries use social media each day. For some industries, a high daily post volume is essential to keep up with trending conversations or get eyes on content in a crowded space. For others, managing a high incoming flow of posts for customer care and engagement is key. However, with so much variation in the overall volume of conversation by industry, it can be hard to know if you’re keeping up with your competition or lagging behind in key areas.
Detailed competitive analysis can give you essential insight into your most similar competitors, but it can be hard to extend those research processes over your entire industry segment. That’s where this data from our over 20,000 customers comes in to give you an overview of how 12 industries are performing at a glance.
Use the high-level social media benchmarks below to understand how your strategy stacks up, and where you may need to increase or shift focus. For these stats, we reviewed the averages for multiple types of brand actions and interactions per day. It’s important to note that being above or below average here does not necessarily indicate that an industry segment is falling behind, but rather that the individual traits of that industry may more heavily favor certain types of interactions. For example, a customer service-centric industry may receive many more incoming messages per day than the average.
Disclaimer: Data from Sprout Social includes users from various plan types, industries and locations. Data for this article was pulled based on social media performance for 2019. To see how social media interactions with brands have changed since COVID-19 dramatically disrupted consumer and business behavior in 2020, read our recent study on post-COVID changes that covers how best times to post and the benchmarks in this article have changed in response.
This metric includes both published posts and sent replies to incoming messages sent by a brand account. We found that across all industries and all social platforms, brands sent an average of 28 posts per day.
Unsurprisingly, this stat varies significantly across industries–the difference between spamming repetitive messages on your audiences’ feeds versus providing engaging new information depends heavily on many factors including how quickly news changes within your industry or how broad the product or service offerings you have to highlight are.
Industries that publish more posts per average per day were media and entertainment (67), sports (42) and retail (36). Industries that publish fewer posts per day than average were nonprofit (18), healthcare (17) and consumer goods (16).
This metric covers all engagements, such as likes, reactions, retweets and similar actions received by a brand’s posts. These numbers are sometimes dismissed as vanity metrics, and while updates to social media algorithms increasingly discourage low-value engagement-baiting posts, our Index research found that 61% of consumers said that brands that are best in class on social know how to engage their audiences. This means these stats are still a great way to get a pulse on whether or not your messaging is resonating with your audience.
We found that brands receive an average of 307 engagements per day on content across all industries. On a per-post level, brands across all industries receive an average of 13 engagements per post per day.
Industries that received more engagements than average per day included media and entertainment (1125), sports (965) and software, internet and technology companies (358). There was some variation in industries that received the highest number of engagements per post, including consumer goods (21), sports (20) and retail (20).
Industries that receive fewer than the average amount of engagements both per day and per post include finance and banking (75 engagements per day, 6 per post), education (64 engagements per day, 4 per post) and real estate (41 engagements per day, 3 per post).
This metric covers how many engagements a brand is sending on others’ posts. Liking and commenting on users’ posts that mention your brand is an important way to cultivate audience relationships and tap into user-generated content, but how much attention you need to dedicate to this over other tactics can vary by industry.
We found that across all industries and networks, brands send out about 11 engagements per day on other user accounts’ posts. This includes actions such as brand accounts liking or reacting to posts from other users.
Industries that send out more than the average number of engagements per day include media and entertainment (15), software, internet and technology companies (14) and sports (13). Industries that sent out fewer include nonprofit (9), education (7) and real estate (6).
This metric gauges the amount of messages received by a brand account from audiences. Per day, we found that across all industries and networks, brands are receiving an average of 59 incoming messages.
Like some of the other metrics we’ve reviewed so far, different segments could be seeing incoming messages at volumes far outside this average, depending on factors like how frequently their customer base turns to social for customer care or the overall conversation volume around the types of topics they’re posting about. This was reflected in the wide variance we saw outside of this average when breaking down by individual industries.
Industries receiving an above-average number of messages included sports (227), media and entertainment (129) and nonprofit (99). Industries receiving fewer than the average amount of messages per day were education (20), healthcare (17) and real estate (10).
How much time is your brand dedicating to each social platform? If you haven’t fully developed your Instagram marketing strategy or your presence on another network, and you’re still trying to figure out how frequently you should be posting, commenting and engaging, these stats can help you set the pace.
Across all industries, brands publish an average of 7 Facebook posts per day. Industries that publish more frequently on average on Facebook were media and entertainment (18), real estate (12) and retail (10). Those that publish less frequently included education (4), software, internet and technology companies (4) and consumer goods brands (3).
Facebook offers multiple avenues for audiences to interact with brands, and on average brands received 101 comments on Facebook posts per day and 20 Private Messages per day. Media and entertainment (505), sports (223) and consumer goods (197) received an above-average amount of comments on their posts. This is especially notable since consumer goods tended to post less frequently throughout the day.
Similarly, software, internet and technology companies received 31 Private Messages per day despite a lower post volume. Retail (46) and media and entertainment (41) also received an above average amount of PMs. This demonstrates the need to stay on top of your social inbox and monitor the volume of comments and messages requiring a response, even if a certain network isn’t the current focus of your social content calendar.
On Facebook, brands don’t appear to be spending much time sending out comments–we found an average of 1 comment sent per day across all industries. There was limited variance among the industries we examined, with only retail (2) and travel and tourism (2) sending more comments per day on average.
Looking at all industries, we found that brands publish an average of 5 posts per day on Instagram. Industries that are more active in publishing on the platform included media and entertainment (8), sports (7) and real estate (6). Industries that publish less frequently than average on Instagram included healthcare (4), education (4) and nonprofit (3).
Comments are a highly active source of community engagement on Instagram. We found that brands across all industries receive an average of 69 comments per day. Industry areas that received a higher than average amount of comments included sports (238), media and entertainment (149) and consumer goods (117). Industries with a lower volume of inbound comments included real estate (18), education (15), and finance and banking (14).
Responses from brands to audience comments are also more active here than on Facebook, with an average of 5 comments sent by brand accounts per day. Industries sending more than this average included retail (8), healthcare (6) and sports (6). Industries sending fewer than average were software, internet and technology (4), education (3), and food, drink and restaurants (2)
As with Facebook, these numbers help illustrate the different demands on industries on social platforms. While Instagram is known to be highly active for shopping, retail doesn’t necessarily publish at the highest post volume, but retail brands do engage with their audiences more heavily through comments.
Further differences between publishing and commenting behavior show the varying need for responses among industries’ audiences–healthcare publishes less frequently but sends out more comments each day, likely responding to their patient base’s important questions. Real estate publishes at a relatively high volume, unsurprising for a visual-first platform, but receives a fairly low volume of comments, which may go along with the much higher consideration level of a real estate transaction.
On Twitter, brands across industries sent an average of 6 posts per day. Industries sending more than this average were media and entertainment (16), sports (13) and finance and banking (8). Industries that published less frequently than average on Twitter were healthcare (3), consumer goods (2) and real estate (2).
Twitter offers multiple unique avenues for engagement. Retweets can be a way for audience members to boost brand content and show that they liked a post enough to boost it on their own individual feed. Across all industries, brands received an average of 35 Retweets per day. Industries receiving a higher number than this average were sports (278), media and entertainment (102), and nonprofit (79). Industries with a lower than average number of Retweets were food, drink and restaurants (4), healthcare (4) and real estate (2).
On Twitter, @mentions allow brands and audiences to engage similar to comments on other platforms, through open conversations that others can typically view. On the other hand, DMs on the platform have become an excellent avenue for customer care, since they let customers send private account or order details conveniently over a social message. Our research showed that brands are receiving an average of 33 @mentions per day, and 2 DMs per day on Twitter. Industries that receive more inbound @messages were sports (189), nonprofit (86) and media and entertainment (78). Industries that received fewer than average inbound @messages were food, drink and restaurants (10), healthcare (6) and real estate (3). An above-average amount of DMs were received by finance and banking (4) and software, internet and technology (3) brands, while real estate (0.4), nonprofit (0.3) and education (0.3) received less than 1 Twitter DM on average per day.
In this section we’ll do a deeper dive into each industry so you can see how your social strategy is stacking up to competitors in your segment as a whole. We’ve listed averages per day for publishing, engagement and messages across multiple networks. Jump to your industry below or read on to see comprehensive stats across 12 different industries pulled from our own customer data.
All of these industry benchmarks add up to a wealth of useful data, but it can also be an overwhelming amount of new considerations for your social strategy at first glance. Remember that these are industry-wide benchmarks, meaning there will be variations and even exceptions for your own brand or competitors depending on many different influential factors in their niche.