People follow brands on social media to stay informed about new products and services, gain access to special deals or promotions or simply to be entertained. However, increased social media use and a growing number of social platforms leave audiences today saturated with content, causing them to become more discerning in regards to what they engage with and where they spend their time.

New research from social media analytics company Sprout Social uncovered what types of branded content audiences engaged with most in 2023—and where they chose to do it—providing insights regarding what channels might be best suited for brands as companies allocate their marketing budgets going forward.

The report found that when it comes to audience engagement, not all networks are created equal. Specifically, when analyzing engagement trends across different social networks, audiences in 2023 engaged with branded content far more often on Facebook and Instagram than they did via X (formerly Twitter).

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Brands received an average of 22 messages per day on Facebook and Instagram, according to the report, compared to 13 on X (formerly Twitter). Instagram engagement was particularly high for leisure, sports and recreation (152 messages received per day), media (128 messages per day) and consumer product manufacturing (98 messages per day). Facebook engagement is highest for media (497 messages received per day), leisure, sports and recreation (238 messages per day) and telecommunications (46 messages per day). X saw the highest engagement with leisure, sports and recreation (152 messages received per day), media (128 messages per day) and travel and hospitality (22 messages per day).

The report also discovered that brands in 2023 published an average of 10 social posts per day across social networks, virtually unchanged from 2022. However, average inbound engagements on content per day declined 12.5 percent, to 70 last year from 80 in 2022. Average outbound engagements, on the other hand, remained virtually the same as last year, at two.

According to the report, consumers also said that video is a preferred medium by which they’d prefer to be engaged with brands. However, it doesn’t appear that many brands are focused on this format. For example, video posts comprised only about a quarter of the content brands published via Instagram in 2023, which was less than half the number of single-image posts that year (52.5 percent).

Sprout’s “2024 Content Benchmarks Report” analyzed more than one million public social profiles that were active between January 1 and December 31, 2023.