Surprise! There’s No Correlation Between Social Engagement And Content Consumption

One of the things that we’ve all been taught about optimizing our content for social media is that the more social engagement a post garners, the better. While that’s probably true to some extent, a new report from Memo finds that just because readers engage with your content it doesn’t actually mean that they’re consuming it.

social engagement

We know that all social engagement isn’t equal. For instance, if you had to choose between readers liking, commenting or sharing a post, it’s now known that shares are the most powerful of the three. It was always assumed that if followers went as far as to engage on any of those levels, then they were at least reading or watching your content.

Empirically, we know that isn’t necessarily true, as many times readers are reacting only to the headline. And if the headline skews negative, then the post will probably get more engagement as a result. But, according to the study, it turns out that any of those engagement levels won’t necessarily mean that it will lead anyone to actually read or watch your content.

The article states, ““Across all the articles and topics we analyzed, we found no clear connection between social engagement and actual readers of the news.”

A data point that proves this is the fact that traffic for all news publishers was down by 20% on average last year. Traffic from Facebook to news sites was down 48%, from X (Twitter) 27%, and Instagram by 10%. If even a high quality news publisher has trouble getting their content consumed, then it could only be worse for single creators like you and me.

So you might think, if social engagement isn’t really leading to anything, why am I even posting in the first place. It turns out that branding is still a big part of social posting. If you’re posting without that in mind, or you aren’t already sufficiently branded, then you’re missing out on a marketing opportunity.

This latest data puts social posting in perspective. The landscape is changing right before our eyes on just about every platform. Is this the beginning of the end of the social age?

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