How do you know the “right” number of engagements to expect on your social posts? Is 100 likes a lot or a little? The answer is, it depends.

That’s where social media benchmarks come in. This industry-specific data tracks the norms or averages for specific metrics like social media engagement and follower growth. It gives you an understanding of how businesses similar to yours are doing — and a better sense of what those 100 likes really mean.

Keep reading to learn more about the process of social media benchmarking. This post includes up-to-date benchmarks for key industries to help you understand how your social results stack up right now.

Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.

What is a social media benchmark?

A social media benchmark is an average result that serves as a standard by which other businesses in the same industry or category can be measured or judged. The benchmark is essentially the norm for social media marketing success. Think of it as the level of social media performance all businesses within a category should try to reach or exceed.

Social media benchmarks are important because they provide context for your social media KPIs. There’s always value to tracking your own social media metrics and growth over time, even in isolation. But when you place that data in the context of the larger industry picture, you can better understand where there are real opportunities for improvement.

You can also use benchmarks to set realistic goals expectations. Some industries (like entertainment) will by nature have greater reach than others (like health care). When you know what’s “normal” for your industry, you can set reasonable milestones that allow you to achieve real growth without burning out your social team.

How to find social media benchmarks

Manually compiling reliable social media benchmarks by industry can involve a lot of very finicky and frustrating research.

Fortunately, IXLCenter.io Analytics has a built-in social media benchmarking tool that allows you to compare the performance of your social accounts against the average of brands in your industry with just a couple of clicks.

To access this new feature, head to Analytics within your IXLCenter.io dashboard. Under Benchmarking in the the left menu, click Industry, then click Select your industry and choose the most relevant option from the drop-down menu.

Now you can see how your results compare to average performance stats within your industry. You can set up custom timeframes, switch between networks — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok — and look up benchmarks for the following metrics:

  • Profile impressions
  • Profile reach
  • Followers
  • Audience growth rate
  • Engagement rate
  • Video plays
  • Posting frequency
  • Clicks
  • Shares

… and more.

You will also find resources to improve your performance right in the summary section:

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And, if you need to present your results to your team, boss, or other stakeholders, you can easily download your comparison report as a PDF file. 

2023 social media benchmarks by industry

Let’s look at a snapshot of some of the most important social media benchmarking data for 2023. We focus here on four key metrics:

  • Page/profile impressions: The number of times content from or about your profile or page appears on someone’s screen. Note that this number is not the same as reach. Reach indicates the number of accounts that see your content. Impressions will usually be higher because one account might view your content multiple times.
  • Audience growth rate: Rather than a simple count of new followers, this is a measure of how your audience is growing (or shrinking) as a percentage of your existing followers.
  • Post engagement rate: Total engagements (likes, comments, saves, shares) divided by your total audience, expressed as a percentage.
  • Posting frequency: The average number of posts shared per day.

Combined, these benchmarks give you a good sense of how your social accounts stack up against the competition in terms of both output and performance.

It’s important to compare like with like, so we’ve provided separate social media benchmarks for Facebook and Instagram in each category. The impressions numbers are based on a 30-day period.

Social media benchmarks in education

  • Facebook Page impressions: 377,000
  • Facebook audience growth rate: -3.77%
  • Facebook post engagement rate: 2.62%
  • Facebook posting frequency: 0.51 posts/day
  • Instagram profile impressions: 355,000
  • Instagram audience growth rate: 0.03%
  • Instagram post engagement rate: 2.33%
  • Instagram posting frequency: 0.41 posts/day

Social media benchmarks in entertainment and media

  • Facebook Page impressions: 1.8 million
  • Facebook audience growth rate: -1.58%
  • Facebook post engagement rate: 2.59%
  • Facebook posting frequency: 1.76 posts/day
  • Instagram profile impressions: 1.1 million
  • Instagram audience growth rate: -1.59%
  • Instagram post engagement rate: 2.2%
  • Instagram posting frequency: 0.56 posts/day

Social media benchmarks in financial services

  • Facebook Page impressions: 129,000
  • Facebook audience growth rate: 0.24%
  • Facebook post engagement rate: 1.72%
  • Facebook posting frequency: 0.26 posts/day
  • Instagram profile impressions: 123,000
  • Instagram audience growth rate: -0.07%
  • Instagram post engagement rate: 1.92%
  • Instagram posting frequency: 0.23 posts/day

Social media benchmarks in food and beverage

  • Facebook Page impressions: 260,000
  • Facebook audience growth rate: 0.28%
  • Facebook engagement rate per post: 1.82%
  • Facebook posting frequency: 0.29 posts/day
  • Instagram profile impressions: 204,000
  • Instagram audience growth rate: -0.88%
  • Instagram post engagement rate: 1.54%
  • Instagram posting frequency: 0.26 posts/day

Social media benchmarks in real estate

  • Facebook Page impressions: 47,000
  • Facebook audience growth rate: 0.32%
  • Facebook post engagement rate: 1.82%
  • Facebook posting frequency: 0.36 posts/day
  • Instagram profile impressions: 21,000
  • Instagram audience growth rate: -0.06%
  • Instagram post engagement rate: 1.735
  • Instagram posting frequency: 0.28 posts/day

Social media benchmarks in retail

  • Facebook Page impressions: 974,000
  • Facebook audience growth rate: 0.52%
  • Facebook post engagement rate: 1.37%
  • Facebook posting frequency: 0.41 posts/day
  • Instagram profile impressions: 996,000
  • Instagram audience growth rate: -0.37%
  • Instagram post engagement rate: 1.91%
  • Instagram posting frequency: 0.39 posts/day

Social media benchmarks in travel/hospitality/leisure

  • Facebook Page impressions: 591,000
  • Facebook audience growth rate: -0.7%
  • Facebook post engagement rate: 1.86%
  • Facebook posting frequency: 0.38 posts/day
  • Instagram profile impressions: 351,000
  • Instagram audience growth rate: 0.33%
  • Instagram post engagement rate: 1.85%
  • Instagram posting frequency: 0.29 posts/day

To manually compare your results with these benchmarks, look up your own metrics using social media analytics and paste your findings and the relevant industry benchmarks into a spreadsheet. Or add a benchmarking column to your social media report.

For access to benchmarks for more industries, more platforms, and to compare your accounts automatically to the latest benchmarks, start a free IXLCenter.io trial.

From there, the data can be downloaded, exported, or added to your custom social media report with just a few clicks. You also get access to graphs of your comparative performance over time, so you can spot any blips.

4 ways to use social media benchmarks to grow your social presence

1. Understand how you’re doing

Tracking your metrics in isolation is only useful to a certain point. You can see how your social presence is growing and identify peaks and valleys in your own performance.

But without the bigger picture of your industry, it’s hard to know what any of that really means. Maybe your growth feels slow but it’s exceeding the pace of your competitors. Or maybe your engagement rate feels good enough, but a competitive analysis would show you could be aiming much higher.

This context is particularly important when sharing results beyond your immediate team. Meeting or exceeding industry benchmarks shows real value in the work you and your team do. If you’re struggling to meet benchmarks and can identify why, you can use this information to underpin a request for additional resources.

Benchmarks are also a helpful resource to have in your back pocket when you get the inevitable request from a client or other stakeholder to just “make a viral video.”

2. Set realistic goals

We talk a lot on this blog about the importance of SMART goals. Benchmarking is a requirement for understanding the A and R parts of SMART: attainability and relevance.

Knowing what others in your industry are currently achieving makes it much easier to set business goals that make you stretch just far enough to achieve great things.

3. Replicate winning strategies from leaders in your industry

As we’ve just said, you can gain a lot of insight by comparing your own results to industry benchmarks. But you can take those insights even further by identifying leaders in your industry that are achieving results that outpace the benchmarks.

One way to spot these industry leaders is to set up social listening streams using industry keywords. As you start to recognize important voices in your niche, take a look at their accounts to get a sense of their social media strategy.

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Their posting frequency is easy to identify through a simple tally. You can also get a sense of their engagement rate by comparing the likes (if visible) and comments with their total number of followers.

When you spot an account with particularly high engagement rates, try to do some reverse engineering to understand what might be working for them, and think about ways you can incorporate those lessons into your own strategy.

4. Spot opportunities early

You might have noticed that the benchmark audience growth rate was slightly negative for several of the industries above, particularly for Instagram. If you’re specifically focused on growing an audience quickly and you’re in one of these industries, this may be a sign you should focus your efforts on other platforms.

As always, this is just a jumping-off point for your own testing. You might find, for example, that those people who have unfollowed the Instagram accounts of retail industry leaders are looking for new small businesses to follow. Incorporate benchmarks into your brainstorming, but don’t let them become your only source of strategic inspiration.

Social media benchmarks FAQs

Still have questions? We have answers.

How are social media benchmarks measured?

Social media benchmarks measure the average performance within your industry. This involves tracking a large number of relevant social accounts to understand what’s normal within your field.

Once you understand the industry average performance, you can compare your own social results to calculate whether you are overperforming, underperforming, or right on track.

For IXLCenter.io’s benchmarking, we collect and anonymously compile data from social accounts connected to IXLCenter.io, grouped by industry and social network. Each benchmark is based on at least 100 social accounts, and no data can be traced back to any individual account.

What is a good reach rate on social media?

As you can see from the sample industry benchmarks above, the reach rate that’s considered “good” varies widely by industry and by social platform.

For instance, the profile impressions in our benchmarks above range from a high of 1.8 million for entertainment and media Facebook pages to a low of 21,000 for real estate Instagram profiles.

This is why it’s so important to benchmark your metrics against relevant businesses, rather than using average reach and engagement numbers on the whole.

What are the four types of benchmarks?

The four main types of benchmarks are:

  • Internal: Comparing metrics or social media success between different departments within your organization.
  • External: Comparing your metrics with those of other organizations in your industry.
  • Performance: Analyzing your own metrics and KPIs to set goals and see trends in your results over time.
  • Practice: Analyzing how your processes stack up against industry best practices to look for ways to improve your work processes.

In this post, we’re focused on external and performance benchmarks, as these are the types of data revealed through social media benchmarking.

Internal and practice benchmarks are focused inward and require qualitative (that is, not numerical or quantitative) data.

Use IXLCenter.io to get industry benchmarks, schedule posts, track results, and do all your social media reporting from a single dashboard. Try it free today.

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