Trends in B2C Brands’ Use of Social Platforms

L2-B2C-Brand-Adoption-of-Social-Platforms-Nov2014B2C brands are active on an average of 7.5 social platforms of 17 examined, with Facebook (100%), Twitter (96.3%), YouTube (94.2%) and Instagram (90.8%) seeing the highest rates of adoption, according to L2 Think Tank’s “Social Platforms 2014” study. The report tracks social performance trends via an analysis of 382 brands from 8 verticals: auto; beauty; beer; fashion; personal care; retail; sportswear; and watches and jewelry.

Looking at the year-over-year adoption of various platforms, the study notes that WeChat (+26%) and Instagram (+18%) have seen the largest increases in adoption, with brands now shying away from Pinterest (-5%), Tumblr (-7%) and Vine (-17%).

The increasing use of Instagram has been documented in other studies, and owes to its astronomical engagement rates. Indeed, among the 331 brands using Instagram, the average engagement rate is 1.455%, a figure more than 18 times higher the comparable rate for Facebook (0.079%). (Post engagement rates fluctuate significantly during the day, with this timing data available in a recent MarketingCharts study on Instagram.)

The following highlights examine some of the trends captured in the L2 report for brands active on 6 of the 17 examined social platforms: Facebook; Instagram; Twitter; Pinterest: Google+; and Weibo. (The accounts studied have a minimum of 10,000 followers on Facebook, 1,500 on Twitter, 1,000 on Instagram and Google, and 350 on Pinterest.

Community Size

Average community sizes have grown year-over-year for brands active in each of the social platforms. The average size is largest for brands on Google+ (960,013), ahead of Facebook (781,000), but growth has been quickest for Instagram (+157%).

Absolute Engagement per Post

Despite having an average community size less than half of its parent Facebook, Instagram boasts the highest average number of engagements per post, at 8,167. That’s far ahead of the next-closest, Facebook, with 1,250 engagements per post. Instagram is also the fastest-growing in this metric, with total engagements per post growing by 113% year-over-year.

Engagement Rate

Interestingly, Instagram’s sizable number of absolute engagements per post comes despite a 31% year-over-year decrease in engagement rate. This year’s figure (representing July 2014) of 1.312% remains leaps and bounds ahead of the other platforms, though, with Facebook (0.105%) the only other to exceed 0.1%. At just 0.016%, Google+ has the lowest average engagement rate for brands active on the platform.

Weekly Post Frequency

An indicator of brand activity, Twitter leads in this measure, with the average brand posting 46.7 times per week, up 22% from last year. Interestingly, brands are posting slightly fewer times on Facebook and Weibo, while the largest relative increase (+86) is for Instagram, to which active brands are now posting about 9 times per week.

About the Data: The second annual L2 Intelligence Report: Social Platforms assesses the social investment and performance of 382 brands across eight verticals (Auto, Beauty, Beer, Fashion, Personal Care, Retail, Sportswear, and Watches & Jewelry) and 17 platforms.