Facebook Growth And Engagement: 2015 Year In Review

Marko Saric posted on 5 January 2016

To kick off the year 2016 we wanted to take one more look at the last year. We wanted to present you the data from December along the data from other studies we’ve done in the year.

All this in hope that it can help you make better decisions in the year 2016. Our wishes are for you to have a stronger year with your Facebook activities.

We’ve been doing Facebook growth and engagement studies throughout the year 2015. If you’ve missed out on our 10 social media trends for the year 2016 take a look here.

Let’s have a look at the data.

Facebook Growth And Engagement

Facebook page growth, post reach and engagement rate
May June July August September October November December
Page Growth 0.2% 0.2% 0.21% 0.28% 0.24% 0.2% 0.18% 0.14%
Post Reach 8.34% 8.11% 8.24% 8.43% 7.91% 7.25% 7.15% 7.39%
Post ER 6.61% 6.19% 6.27% 5.93% 6.15% 5.87% 5.77% 5.01%

From looking at this data it’s easy to conclude that 2015 was a difficult year for brands on Facebook. Organic opportunities have declined throughout the year. Page likes growth in December was at 0.14%. This is the lowest number we’ve seen in the eight months of studies.

If you do want to grow your page audience in the year 2016 you simply do need to use paid advertising. Don’t get your hopes up that creating amazing content will get you there on its own.

Post reach of 7.39% has seen a bit of a recovery in December. This is the highest reach we’ve seen since September.

The best organic way to optimize your post reach in 2016 is by using the post format that has the highest reach. This is on top of posting on the best day of the week and the time of the day. We will look into the post formats further down in the study. Do also take a look at our 11 timeless pieces of social media advice for the year 2016.

Post engagement rate has seen a decline throughout our studies. December was the lowest point yet. 5.01% ER in December is a 24.2% decline since May. Are pages posting bad and not-optimized content? Or is the audience on Facebook engaging less in general?

Facebook might have an engagement problem as people move to the different messaging apps. Instagram has had stronger engagement than Facebook throughout the year. Are people on Facebook more likely to just lurk and not post and engage? We’ve looked into this last year and we’ll be keeping an eye on the engagement throughout 2016.

Facebook pages using advertising
May June July August September October November December
Pages using ads 43.36% 45.59% 41.12% 41.54% 42.95% 43.41% 42.01% 42.15%
Paid post reach 31.51% 31.07% 28.56% 29.56% 30.83% 30.54% 28.98% 30.18%

Despite the steady decline in organic opportunities, the use of paid advertising hasn’t seen a large increase. The highest number of pages using ads was at 45.59% in June, while the number in December was at 42.15%. Pages were paying for 30.18% of the total reach on average in December.

It will be interesting to see how the use of advertising trends in the new year. Have more of the brands got Facebook advertising budget approved for the year 2016? Will more try to grow their pages through alternative tactics such as improved content and influencer outreach? We will see.

Post format reach
Reach May June July August September October November December
Videos 11.86% 11.02% 10.89% 9.53% 9.42% 9.24% 8.94% 9.14%
Images 7.86% 7.66% 7.79% 7.96% 7.75% 6.84% 6.7% 6.83%
Links 9% 9.04% 9.23% 8.99% 8.95% 8.53% 8.36% 8.9%
Status 6.12% 5.7% 6.57% 6.28% 5.51% 4.44% 5.23% 3.76%

As mentioned earlier the organic reach has seen a bit of a recovery in December. The best way for you to optimize your reach in 2016 is to use the best performing post format. The post format with the highest reach throughout the year 2016 was video.

In December you were able to reach 9.14% of your total audience with a video post. The reach would have been 59% lower if you posted plain status updates.

If you don’t have an advertising budget videos are your best bet. Facebook is nudging brands to create more and better videos through educational articles such as this one. They are also continuously improving the video experience such as with the recent upgrade to the embed video player.

Post format engagement rate
ER May June July August September October November December
Videos 6.61% 6.51% 6.79% 6.46% 6.53% 5.98% 6.11% 4.73%
Images 7.06% 6.49% 6.57% 6.32% 6.6% 6.23% 6.05% 5.4%
Links 4.37% 4.25% 4.25% 3.92% 3.96% 3.93% 3.82% 3.44%
Status 3.34% 4% 4.05% 4.12% 4.25% 4.19% 4.04% 3.77%

As seen above the engagement rate has declined throughout the year as well. This has affected all the post formats.

Images were the best engaging format in December with ER of 5.4% of people reached. Videos were second best at 4.73% engagement rate. Photos and videos engaged largest number of people throughout the year. You simply need to post more visual content in the year 2016.

Videos do take more time and effort to create compared to status updates. It’s still worth considering how you can create more visual content in the new year. Do you need a budget for a photographer and a videographer? Do you need to hire people with skills in video and photo editing? Do you need access to better tools?

If you want to stay on the top of the Facebook game you do need to become more visual.

Need more inspiration for the year 2016? Here are our 8 New Year’s Resolutions for social media marketers.

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4 thoughts on “Facebook Growth And Engagement: 2015 Year In Review”
  • This is so useful! Will you have something similar for Instagram? We noticed engagement was down for December and curious to know if this was across the board.

    • Thanks Lena, glad you found the study useful. Instagram one is coming up next week so do stay tuned to the blog.

  • Hello,

    Thanks for those data. Really useful !

    Could you precise the pages studied ? (Number, countries, maybe number of fans)

    Thanks a lot

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