New Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: How Does Your Company Stack Up?

Erik Devaney
Erik Devaney




284 million. That's how many monthly active users Twitter has.

Believe it or not, Instagram has actually surpassed Twitter with 300 million monthly active users. (For comparison, the fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia, has a population of 255 million.)

And then there’s Facebook, with 1.35 billion monthly active users. That's billion ... with a "b." In other words, Facebook's user base is just a hair smaller than the population of China, the most populous country in the world (with about 1.37 billion people).

Stats like these help convince modern marketers like us that social media is indeed worth our time and energy. The numbers help us grasp just how much potential there is for engaging with prospective customers on the social web. They inspire us to act.

What these oft-quoted stats on social media usage don't do, however, is show us how to act. They fail to provide us with any actionable insights into how we can actually improve our social media marketing. 

That's why we created the 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report, which uses data from 7,000+ businesses. The report sheds light on metrics associated with social posting frequency, social following, and social engagement. Use it to benchmark your own social metrics against businesses in your industry and/or against businesses with a comparable company size.

To give you a quick overview of the types of data you'll find in the report, I put together a few interactive charts using the infographic creation service,

First up: Here's the average number of social media posts companies publish per week (across all social networks), broken down by industry. If you click on the small circles up top (e.g., Image posts, Facebook posts, Tweets), the data will update accordingly. You can also hover over the bars to reveal the exact figures.

As you can see, the real estate industry dominates all of the posting categories -- with the exception of tweets, where the marketing services industry takes top honors. Keep in mind, however, that posting more often doesn't necessarily guarantee more engagement or overall success. More on that later!

Next up is the same data set, only broken up according to company size.

The general takeaway here: Overall posting frequency is pretty flat across our four company size groups. However, the largest company size (201+) does take top honors, publishing 11.25 posts per week on average.

When we look at image posts and Facebook posts, results are more staggered. And with tweets, we see that post frequency increases with company size. (Although the company size groups in the middle of the pack -- 11 to 50 and 51 to 200 -- have nearly identical tweet-per-week averages.)

Alright, let's move onto some social following metrics. The graph below shows both the average and median number of social followers companies have (across all social networks), by industry.

So, the largest average following and largest median following awards both go to the non-profit/education industry. (Median, FYI, is simply the middle number in a series of numbers arranged in order of value. It's another tool for finding a good representative number for your sample. And, unlike the average, it doesn't get thrown off if there happens to be one or two extreme values in your data set.)

Speaking of data sets, here's the same one you just saw -- only this time, it's organized by company size:

As you can see, the largest companies (201+ employees) have the largest average and largest median number of social followers. But somewhat unexpectedly, the smallest companies (1 to 10 employees) have a larger average following than companies with 11 to 50 employees, while companies with 11 to 50 employees have a larger average following than companies with 51 to 200 employees.

When we look at the median, however, these (possible) anomalies in the data disappear: The median number of social followers increases incrementally as company size increases.

Now, onto the fun stuff: social interactions. Here is the average number of interactions (e.g. likes, retweets, etc.) a post receives, broken out by industry.

Yes, you're reading that correctly: The non-profit/education industry averages an incredible 42.47 interactions per post. The consumer goods/retail/ecommerce industry takes second place, with 11.4 average interactions per post.

Here's that interaction data broken out by company size.

Clearly, there is less of a disparity in interaction per post when we look at company sizes vs. looking at industries. Still, there are some clear "winners" and "losers."

When it's all said and done, the largest companies get the most interactions per post on average (with 9.28), while the 11 to 50 employees group comes in a close second with 8.59 interactions per post. The smallest companies take third place with 6.18 interactions per post, while the 51 to 200 employees group sees the least amount of interaction per post with a 5.02 average.

So, what does it all mean? What are the big picture takeaways here? And are there any correlations between post frequency and social interactions, or between follower count and interactions?

To find out, we'll need to take a deeper dive into all this data. Click here to download the full 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report.

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