NEW YORK: US consumers are engaging with brand content on social media more often than they did a year ago and are doing so at a faster rate than brands are posting content, a new study has revealed.

Social-analytics firm Shareablee analysed data on content and engagement from 100,000 brands during the first quarter of the year and found that people were engaging with brand content – defined as liking, sharing, favouriting or commenting – 52% more than in the same period of 2014.

Looking at three platforms in particular, average posts per brand on Twitter were up 16% while actions per brand increased 32%, Advertising Age reported.

The results for Facebook were broadly similar, with posts per brand up 16% and actions per brand up 27%.

A more dramatic shift was apparent at Instagram, where brand content was growing slightly faster, with posts per brand up 21%, but consumer engagement in terms of actions per brand had leapt ahead 108%.

Shareablee founder and CEO Tania Yuki reported that video posts were behind much this growth: at 186%, engagement with brand videos had grown more than three times faster than overall engagement levels.

"There's a divide among marketers on whether the right currency metric for social media ought to be engagement or impressions," Yuki said.

Echoing her remarks at an ARF conference last year when she outlined how it made a difference for different verticals to focus on different platforms, she explained how this view could vary depending on the nature of the brand. Thus a "passion brand" in TV, publishing or sports would look more at engagement levels; more utilitarian brands in other sectors tended to focus on reach.

"It would be missing a lot of the juice of social to only think about reach and impressions," she added. "But I do think social will continue to struggle to get a real seat at the table without measuring impressions."

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff