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“Opportunity for reach on social media is larger than ever”: How can publishers make the most of it?

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“Facebook is a particularly effective platform for all manner of content verticals to generate click-throughs.”

Highlights from a new report that compiles benchmarking data from the major social platforms. The findings will help publishers understand how they are performing with respect to their competition on these platforms and optimize their social media strategies for best results.  

Over 4.5B people use social media – that’s nearly 60% of the world’s population, according to a new report from Echobox. And the average growth rate of social media users globally is 3% per year. “The opportunity for reach on social media is larger than ever,” the authors note. “How can companies make the most of this moment in time?”

Improving click-through traffic between social platforms and websites would help publishers attract readers and build relationships with them. “In this regard, benchmarking data is essential to understanding how different platforms perform in driving traffic back to a website,” they explain. 

The report, The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks, provides benchmarks for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These are based on detailed analysis of thousands of social shares from businesses around the world – Echobox serves over 1,500 leading brands and businesses globally. Publishers can use this data to evaluate and update their existing social media strategies. 

Healthy click-through patterns enable companies to capitalize on the enormous number of social media users and funnel them toward their website’s carefully curated environment.

The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks

“Single greatest social resource”

Facebook, according to the report, is “still perhaps the single greatest social resource for businesses looking to drive click-through traffic.” It has 1.98B daily active users and 2.96B monthly active users which is equivalent to over a third of the world’s population. Additionally, it has an “incredibly broad demographic spread across ages and countries.” Referring to a Pew Research study, the report shares that the platform is used by 70% of 18- to 29-year-olds, 77% of those aged 30-49, and 73% of those aged 50-69. 

Moreover, the ten countries with the highest number of Facebook users are spread across North, South, and Central America, and a substantial portion of Asia Pacific. They include mature markets as well as emerging ones like India and Indonesia.  

Echobox analyzed over 3,000 Facebook Pages from hundreds of businesses all over the globe during a 6-month period. The data shows that average CTR has grown, with few exceptions, for businesses across content verticals, countries, and languages compared to 2021.

For example, the average CTR across all content types is 3% which is an increase of 0.5% compared to 2021. Sports and Health lead across content verticals with average CTRs of 3.85% and 3.82% respectively. The report adds that sports content performs strongly on almost all social media platforms. Additionally, it underlines the striking uniformity in the results – the difference in CTR between the best to worst-performing verticals is a little over 1.5%. This indicates that “Facebook is a particularly effective platform for all manner of content verticals to generate click-throughs.”

Although sports content continues to lead it registered a slightly lower CTR compared to 2021 (4.5%). What’s encouraging though is all other content verticals registered higher scores, often with significant margins. The International News Content, for example, had an average CTR of 1.8% in 2021 – it has grown to 3.03% in the current analysis. Similarly, Lifestyle content has increased from 3% to 3.55%.  

“Over 2B active monthly users”

Meta’s other social platform Instagram now has over 2B active monthly users and is growing at an incredible rate. Like Facebook, its users are distributed all over the globe. The Asia-Pacific region alone has almost 1B active monthly users, around the same number as Europe and North and South America combined. 

Nearly 40% of its users visit the platform in any given week, according to Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2022, and 90% follow a business. A 2021 Pew Research Center study found that 71% of 18-29-year-old Americans use Instagram. All of this indicates that businesses have a receptive and young audience on Instagram that can potentially be converted into loyal and paying customers.

With Instagram’s huge, predominantly young user base, businesses that can drive their Instagram audiences back to their website can more effectively market their offerings using first-party data and foster repeat business for years to come.

The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks

Echobox analyzed referral traffic from more than 200 Instagram pages over 6 months, across different industries, languages, and countries. It found that on average, the platform drives 3.8% of all social referral traffic. Sports is once again the highest-performing content vertical. It gets an average of 12.94% of total social pageviews from Instagram. That’s almost double of the next best-performing content vertical i.e., Lifestyle (6.58%). It’s followed by Fashion and News which have above-average scores of 4.96% and 3.92% respectively.  

“Sports content may record an elevated portion of traffic from Instagram due to the industry’s unique hybrid social-business model,” the authors explain, “which sees a high volume of content produced and shared, much like a news publisher, whilst relying on merchandise and ticket sales like a retailer.” 

“This mixed strategy may be a key factor in Sports businesses’ ability to drive comparably high levels of social pageviews from Instagram (no doubt aided by sizable fanbases).”

The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks

They add that the timing of Instagram posts can significantly impact their performance. This is seen while examining the hourly traffic from Instagram for two different news publishers who offer similar content to the same geographic audience – the results do not match at all. This, according to the report, is because “each business is unique. Each business’ content is unique. Each business’ audience is unique.” 

“Audience interaction is the great advantage of Twitter”

The other big social media platform i.e., Twitter is going through a period of uncertainty since its ownership changed. Despite that, it “remains an effective tool for businesses hoping to increase brand visibility, boost audience engagement, generate click-throughs or grow subscriber numbers,” according to the report. 

The number of monetizable daily active Twitter users stood at 237.8M, up 16.65% compared to the previous year, according to the company’s second-quarter earnings report from 2022. And they are spread across the globe – the US leads with 83.4M active users, followed by Japan (60.7M), India (24.8M), Indonesia (21.2M), and Brazil (20.6M). Like Instagram, they are mostly young, with over half between the ages of 18 and 44.

Twitter is also increasingly being used by businesses as an online customer service platform. “Twitter’s unique environment fosters immediacy and interaction in a very different way from a platform such as Facebook,” the authors suggest, quoting researchers from Deakin University in Australia. “Due to this, co-promotion on Twitter by a brand and its audience can foster and nurture a positive emotional connection between the two.”

Audience interaction is the great advantage of Twitter over other platforms. The ability to run polls, for example, helps to foster a relationship with followers, by showing that a brand actively seeks out feedback. 

The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks

Echobox analyzed pageview data of more than 600 Twitter pages, from 21 countries and in 11 languages over 6 months. They found that on average, Twitter generates 6.7% of all social referral traffic.  

News content publishers received the highest percentage of their social pageviews from Twitter. National News (11.62%), International News (10.46%), and Local/Regional News (8.94%) are among the top 4 performers. 

The report also underlines that news publishers collectively have a larger audience on Twitter than any other platform. The company itself revealed that 94% of its users express interest in current events, 85% watch, read, or listen to the news at least once a day, and 83% tweet about news.


While the top seven content verticals get over 8% of their social pageviews from Twitter, the remaining four i.e., Lifestyle, Food & Drink, and Fashion, show a notable drop. This is likely because these verticals work better with visual content which makes them more suited for platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

“Engrain their brands in the minds of potential subscribers”

News publishers also have a major presence on LinkedIn which has just under a billion users worldwide with the numbers growing YoY. Moreover, a Pew research report suggests that more adults in the US have used LinkedIn than Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, or Reddit as of last year. An average visit to the platform lasts about seven minutes which is nearly the same as Instagram. 

LinkedIn offers a geographically diverse audience of professionals. More publishers are coming around to the potential of the platform, not only for recruitment but for content distribution. 

The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks

LinkedIn users are also potentially more likely to pay for content. 60% are between the ages of 25 and 34—A 2020 World Economic Forum report found that the 16-34 age group is more likely to pay for news than the global average. “Exposure to this age group gives publishers the opportunity to engrain their brands in the minds of potential subscribers and develop relationships for the long term,” suggests the Echobox report.

The researchers analyzed more than 100 different LinkedIn pages over 6 months for 4 different types of publisher content. These are Local News, National News, Foreign Affairs, and a General category of mixed content verticals. They found that on average publishers get around 1.5% of all social traffic from LinkedIn.

The General category has the highest score (2.49%), followed by International News/Foreign Affairs (2.06%). There is a notable drop in pageviews from Local/Regional (1.07%) and National News (0.21%).

“We can speculate that the above-average performance of International News/Foreign Affairs content on LinkedIn reflects a more international audience at both an individual and corporate level,” according to the report. 

An increasingly mobile professional class may be looking for news from their countries of origin, whilst the predominance of businesses on LinkedIn means that news of global events may have a greater significance to their day-to-day operations. 

The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks

The study also analyzed two content types: News and Magazines. Between the two, Magazines (15.41%) fetch a significantly higher percentage of pageviews from LinkedIn compared to News (2.13%). 

This is likely connected to the performance International News/Foreign Affairs vertical on the platform. The report suggests that it may be the “depth of analysis of which a weekly or monthly magazine is capable makes it more relevant to a professional audience who are the main users of LinkedIn.”

“Understanding the nuances of each social platform”

That rounds up all the social media platforms covered in the report. These benchmarks are intended to give publishers insights into how their content is performing on social media vis-à-vis their competitors and the content verticals they are focused on. They may discover the potential for improving performance.

“Optimizing performance on social media involves a multitude of elements that, in combination, can lead to significantly increased engagement on the platforms,” the researchers explain. “While some principles apply to all social media platforms (like finding the right time to post, for example) others, such as emoji or hashtag use, require best practices specific to each platform.”

Understanding the nuances of each social platform as well as the expectations of your specific audience is therefore crucial.

The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks

The full report can be downloaded here:
The Ultimate Collection of 2023 Social Media Benchmarks