Social First: How Brands Can Optimize Their Performance Online

With so many different metrics being used to measure social media campaigns, it can be hard to measure success or failure.  And even harder when you have a number, but nothing to compare it to. Does length of post matter? Is my Instagram Engagement Rate good or bad? With these questions swirling in our heads and email inboxes, Fullscreen decided to take a deep dive into the characteristics that are integral in making a campaign successful – including video length, link inclusion, and posting day considerations. Analyzing over 100 campaigns from 2016-2019, we created a benchmark report that can shed light on what those numbers mean and how marketers can optimize their social performance.


We knew we had a wealth of data from our campaigns over the years, so we dug into our database of over 1,000 Fullscreen Social Influencer Posts from 2016 to Q1 of 2019 to get a comprehensive social media benchmark report. We ran these posts through three different analytics tools –  Shareablee, Canvs, and Tubular – to determine engagement rates, views, and emotional reactions.  

The analyzed posts ran the gamut across 9 different advertiser verticals, ranging from Toys and Games to QSR. Our analysis centered on the big 4 social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.


Unsurprisingly, YouTube continues to be the primary destination for video engagement and has the highest view rate with 235k views within 7 days. However, Instagram is the most engaging platform for social posts across a variety of formats (video, carousel, etc), with an average engagement rate of 3.40%.  Engagement rate is defined as the number of reactions, comments, shares, and clicks divided by follower count.  

Nearly half (48%) of the top-performing posts across platforms included terms focused on “Love”.  The composition of “Love”-focused posts was higher than both the middle (39%) and bottom (35%) posts.  This suggests that emotional tonality can assist in driving better performance and should not be ignored.  

We saw that posting on a certain day of the week does matter, particularly for Facebook.  While Instagram engagement rates tend to be consistent across the week, Facebook engagement rates vary and historically peak on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Additionally, we found that tolerance for long-form posts and videos is high.  View rates continue to rise with increasing length of video on both Facebook and YouTube, up to 5 minutes for Facebook and 13 minutes for YouTube. Facebook was also most affected by an increase in post length with engagement rate increasing simultaneously with word count, all the way up to +188% versus the platform average when post length was 45+ words. With short-form options increasingly all the buzz, like TikTok where users are spending less than 30 seconds per video, we still see sizable viewership on YouTube, at 4.2 minutes per video, and even on Facebook at 1.6 minutes per video (Comscore Video Metrix, October 2019). 


Even though Instagram remains the leading platform for engagement, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to maximize content for the platform. Brands should think beyond the fact that Instagram is “working” and look to incorporate various content types that can engage consumers in different, meaningful ways.  

Our findings indicate that leaning into copy that drives more pronounced emotions such as “Love” and “Crazy” helps to draw consumers in, ultimately driving both viewership and engagement.  Branded social posts should not shy away from emphasizing the more extreme emotions.  

Lastly, brands should continue to leverage longer video formats on YouTube and start thinking about how to lengthen videos on Facebook and Instagram to improve the viewing experience, as consumers are open and actively looking to be entertained on those platforms. Consumers have shown that they are open to longer content both copy wise and video lengthwise and that content should not be abandoned in favor of strictly short posts.  These three takeaways will help brands continue to optimize for each individual platform and hone in on what consumers are responding to and what aspects of posts truly matter. 

For more information on this study and our Benchmarks Report, please contact