The Top 20,000 Facebook Pages Posted More Content During the Second Quarter of 2018

Organic reach was nearly nonexistent and engagement was down

The top 20,000 pages on Facebook are posting nearly 20,000 additional pieces of content every day Getty Images
Headshot of David Cohen

Social media management tool Buffer teamed up with content marketing tool BuzzSumo to analyze more than 43 million posts from the top 20,000 brands on Facebook during the second quarter of 2018, and here’s what they found:

The pages they studied posted more content in the second quarter of 2018 compared with the first quarter and all of last year. Those pages totaled 8.1 million posts in the second quarter, up 24 percent in the first quarter of 2018. Buffer and BuzzSumo pointed out that the top 20,000 brands on Facebook are posting nearly 20,000 additional pieces of content every day—90,032 in the second quarter, compared with 72,000 in the previous quarter—and they are averaging 135 posts per month, or slightly over four per day.

But with organic reach nearly nonexistent on Facebook, why are pages posting more?

Jason Beckerman, CEO of social advertising platform Unified, said Facebook is “really a pay-to-play ecosystem now,” adding, “The days of seeing significant engagement from organic are pretty much over. Truthfully, all companies should be exploring paid social advertising—and they don’t need to have huge budgets, either. Depending on their goal, they can see huge return on investment with the right targeting, creative, audience targeting and strong campaign management capability.”

David Pierpont, senior vice president of performance media at data- and technology-driven marketing agency Ansira, pointed out that it is important to consider the types of pages represented on the list, as pages for celebrities such as athletes and entertainers “are in a class by themselves.”

Indeed, the top 10 Facebook pages are mostly those of entertainers and athletes or teams like Vin Diesel, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Eminem, according to media analytics provider Socialbakers.

Pierpont added, “Most of the categories [Buffer and BuzzSumo are] showing are some kind of entertainment or athletic, and people want to consume that. For your average brand, you’re really dependent on the page ad units driving business results.”

Kate Wolff, senior vp of client services at RQ Agency, believes influencers are not setting out to increase the volume of content they create, but rather focusing on improving the quality and approach of those posts. “Sometimes that manifests itself in an uptick of more volume,” she said.

Engagement is down across the board. Buffer and BuzzSumo found that shares, likes, reactions and comments are down by more than 50 percent over the past 18 months, and average engagement per post is down more than 65 percent over the same period.

Images drew more engagement than video in the second quarter. Average engagement per image plummeted to 3,454 from 9,370 in the first quarter, while average engagement per video fell to 2,867 from 5,846.

Pierpont said that was the most interesting statistic uncovered by Buffer and BuzzSumo, saying that despite the emphasis on video content throughout the social media sector, “a lot of people’s habits are being built on things like Instagram. It’s not like there isn’t video, but people are so used to the scroll, stop, continue-to-scroll behavior that’s built in.”

Buffer and BuzzSumo took their own crack at the age-old question of how many times a day pages should post and settled on five.

While pages that posted less than once per day had the highest engagement per post, overall engagement levels were low. Meanwhile, pages that posted 10 or more times per day averaged 1,202 engagements per post (down nearly 66 percent quarter over quarter), while those that posted five times per day saw that figure rise to 2,466.

Finally, the page categories that saw the biggest drops in engagement were artists (70.6 percent), movies (68.6 percent) and media and news (64 percent), while retail brands suffered the least (49 percent).

How can pages improve their engagement and reach? Buffer suggested considering the return on investment of each post, saying the focus should be on interaction with the page’s audience and not merely broadcasting the company’s message. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.