If you were still entertaining the idea that social media marketing could be the answer above all other channels, you may want to think again. While early engagement rates were never high to begin with, now its around 0.09%!
The data from RivalIQ shows how bad it really is. In fact, Rand Fishkin sums it up best:
“….For most businesses, it’s literally better to have ONE email subscriber than ONE THOUSAND likes on your Facebook page”
Instagram seems to fare a little better than most, at around 1.6%, but to see Facebook dip below 1% is shocking.
So, why the decline? Pay-to-play on the social networks mean that reach and audience is throttled severely, even when communicating to existing followers. Also, consumer confidence in social ads and sponsored posts have been undermined by negative media coverage following scandals such as Cambridge Analytica. I guess those heartfelt pledges direct from Zuckerberg did little to quell the unease most people feel about how they are tracked by ads across social, and clicking on a social ad is being perceived as ‘risky’.
Does this mean that social should be abandoned? In truth the answer is no. The low engagement levels are really only a problem for those companies that exclusively focus on reach and acquisitions through organic social activity. If you utilize social as part of a balanced and coordinated set of channels alongside SEM and direct methods, Social will play it’s part well, as the trust will have been established prior to the user making that risky decision. And it’s also worth being realistic – reach and volume are monetized commodities on social. So unlike SEO, you will not be able to scale up your campaigns to significant levels without a media strategy and budget.