12 Days of Data 2020, Day 1: Facebook for Brands Key Metrics

12 Days of Data 2020, Day 1: Facebook for Brands Key Metrics

12 Days of Data 2020, Day 1: Facebook for Brands Key Metrics


Welcome to the 12 Days of Data 2020 Edition, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2020. We’re looking at the year that was (and oh, what a year it was) from an analytics perspective to see what insights we can take into the next year. Sit up, get your coffee ready, and let’s celebrate some data.

Facebook Brand Engagement Statistics for Unpaid Content

We start with Facebook Page data for brands’ organic (unpaid) content. Using a curated list provided by Crowdtangle (a Facebook company), we augmented the list with other brand pages that we knew of for a sample size of 3,117 brand pages. Based on that data, we wanted to see what brand engagement looked like for 2020.

Before we go further, we define engagement as the number of interactions (reactions, comments, shares) that occurred on a Facebook brand post, divided by the number of followers of that Facebook brand page at the time of posting. For all the computations that follow, we use the median as the measure of centrality, rather than the mean (average) because medians deal better with outliers, especially in large social media datasets.

In 2020, these 3,117 brand pages published a total of 9,266,338 unique Facebook posts that were not paid or boosted posts:

Facebook Brand Statistics

The big picture in 2020 is the median engagement rate of 0.0166% for unpaid content. That’s a substantial decline from 2019, when the rate was 0.0215%, a decrease of 22.8% year-over-year for brands’ engagement. To put that in context, audience engagement with unpaid content on Facebook was 1 out of every 6,000 people who follow a brand page.

Other statistics: – The median number of engagements per post waws 139 reactions, 23 comments, up from 108 reactions and 15 comments in 2019 – The median number of followers of brand pages was 1,601,154 followers, up from 649,696 in 2019 – The median number of posts per day by brands is 8.71, up from 7.62 in 2019

When we examine the trendline for this content, we see a level for the first half of the year and then a steady decline in the second half:

Facebook Brand Engagement Rates

Note that engagement is always low on the most recent 2 days of data due to the way Facebook’s algorithm works.

Key Takeaway

Last year, we made the bold statement that unpaid social media marketing on Facebook, for brands, is effectively dead. If last year was dead, this year is beating a dead horse; when 1 out of every 6,000 followers engages with your content, you’re really not reaching anyone in a scalable manner – doubly so in a pandemic when everyone is competing for the same eyeballs.

Those brands that took our advice last year moved to using Facebook as an ad platform. Those who haven’t made that shift should consider alternative social media marketing strategies, because Facebook organic social media just isn’t where the action – or the results – is any more.

Unless you have fully automated your Facebook organic social media strategy, it’s time to move onto greener pastures that will give you greater returns for your efforts.


Trust Insights used Facebook’s Crowdtangle software to extract all posts from 3,117 brand pages for calendar year-to-date 2020. A list of brand accounts was provided by Crowdtangle and augmented by Trust Insights. Posts that were sponsored/paid were excluded at time of processing. Posts were deduplicated by post URL prior to tabulation. Engagement is defined as (reactions + comments + shares) / page Likes at posting. Due to the changing nature of audience sizes, determining follower size for individual brands was calculated as the median number of followers for the page during the study period. The timeframe of the study is January 1, 2020 to December 7, 2020. The date of extraction is December 7, 2020. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.


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