12 Days of Data 2022 Day 11: Social Media Barometer

12 Days of Data 2022 Day 11: Social Media Barometer


Welcome to the 12 Days of Data 2022 Edition, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2022. We’re looking at the year that was (and oh, what a year it was, something we’ve been saying for three years straight now…) 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 and look forward to the year ahead.


Social Media Barometer

In 2022, Trust Insights partnered with leading social media management software firm Agorapulse to look at a bird’s eye view of how public, organic (unpaid) social media is performing across hundreds of thousands of accounts. Few companies have the kind of reach or data quality that Agorapulse does, making them an ideal data source for anonymized, de-identified social media data, especially for brands and agencies. Combined with our data analysis, we call this the Social Media Barometer.

Let’s take a deep dive into four snapshots from our Social Media Barometer:

The Trust Insights/Agorapulse Social media barometer

At the biggest picture level, we see engagement holding mostly steady in the second half of the year, with LinkedIn leading the pack at roughly 1% for the highest median engagement. This is followed by Facebook (surprisingly!), Instagram, then Twitter and YouTube.

However, these are large aggregated numbers; let’s dig into a few audience subsets. First, let’s examine small business:

The Trust Insights/Agorapulse Social media barometer

Facebook and LinkedIn perform much more closely, just around 1% engagement for both, while Instagram trended upwards towards the end of the year,. This syncs with what we observed in Instagram data on day 2 of the 12 Days of Data.

Next, let’s take a look at large enterprises.

The Trust Insights/Agorapulse Social media barometer

Surprisingly, large enterprises did very well with Instagram of all social networks. However, a substantial number of large enterprises are large scale B2C companies, so perhaps that’s less of a surprise than expected.

Finally, let’s look at agencies.

The Trust Insights/Agorapulse Social media barometer

Agencies followed the pattern we’ve seen with other subsets – LinkedIn leading the pack, followed by Facebook and Instagram.

So What?

Across the board, we see median engagement levels in the low single digits. Even in places where company types are experiencing engagement growth, like Instagram, engagement is still well below 1%. It’s fair to say, when we’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of accounts in every sector, planet-wide, that organic, unpaid social media is not going to be a growth channel for most businesses.

Should businesses be marketing with unpaid social media? It comes back to cost-benefit analysis. If you invest very little time in organic social media, and you get returns commensurate with your investment, then it’s probably cost-neutral and in a few cases, a positive return.

If you invest much more time and energy into organic social media than you earn back in results, then it’s probably time to pare back. Take a look at your marketing analytics, at your attribution analysis for your different digital marketing channels, and allocate budget and time commensurate with the results you’re getting.

For example, here’s the Trust Insights Google Analytics 4 multi-touch attribution analysis for last month:

GA 4 Attribution

We see that Twitter, for example, is just a tiny fraction of our conversions, whereas LinkedIn represents about 2% of our conversions. On a percentage basis, if we were investing the same amount of time on Twitter that we were on LinkedIn, we’d be overinvesting in Twitter.

Perform this same analysis with your data to see where your organic social media efforts should be focused.

Methodology Statement

Trust Insights extracted 12,320,791 unique posts from 240,455 Agorapulse anonymized, de-identified accounts, then processed with our own custom code. The timeframe of the dataset is 1 January 2022 – 1 November 2022. The date of the study is 14 December 2022. 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.


Need help with your marketing AI and analytics?

You might also enjoy:

Get unique data, analysis, and perspectives on analytics, insights, machine learning, marketing, and AI in the weekly Trust Insights newsletter, INBOX INSIGHTS. Subscribe now for free; new issues every Wednesday!

Click here to subscribe now »

Want to learn more about data, analytics, and insights? Subscribe to In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, with new episodes every Wednesday.

One thought on “12 Days of Data 2022 Day 11: Social Media Barometer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This