Social advertising sees a consistent growth year over year. These are the channels and ad types that work best in 2019.
There are many opportunities in social advertising. More marketers are willing to explore them through marketing campaigns. The challenge is to make the most of your time and budget in the best-performing channels and ad types.
Kenshoo has released its Q1 2019 Quarterly Trends Report looking at the latest trends in social and search advertising and how they compare to last year’s results.
These are the most important findings you need to know.
Social ad spending and impressions are on the rise
More marketers are willing to invest in social advertising. In fact, there has been increased spending in social advertising by 27% year-over-year in Q1 2019. As social media heads into a more mature stage, social advertising is gaining a more prominent role. The different channels and ad types bring out a growing opportunity. The biggest increase in ad spending was noticed in video ads, which saw an increase in spending by 44%. As more social media channels introduce different types of video ads, marketers have experimented with them over the past year to find the most effective options.
Except for the increase in social ad spending, impressions have also increased by 20% from last year. The increased focus on impressions signals a transition from the click-based ads towards ads that focus on brand awareness. What would seem as a vague measurement in the early days of social advertising is now a conscious decision among marketers.
CTR and clicks saw a drop
Despite the increased spending and impressions, there has been a drop of clicks by 23% in social advertising over the last year. A similar drop has been observed in the click-through rates for social advertising falling by 37% YoY.
There shouldn’t be a concern on these numbers though especially when we consider the increase in impressions.
We don’t necessarily see a decreased engagement but rather a shift of focus in the objectives and their relevance among marketers. For example, clicks don’t always signal success anymore in social advertising. Videos and stories can focus on the brand lift, impressions and wider awareness. The funnel in social advertising seems to expand and it’s an interesting change to keep an eye on.
Marketers use a variety of ad types
One of the most exciting reasons to invest in social ads is the variety of ad types to use in your strategy. Link ads were traditionally one of the most popular ad types over the last few years. However, there has been a drop in their use since last year falling from 34% to 20% of the total use of ads.
Meanwhile, carousel product ads have been on the rise as more marketers are interested in linking their product promotion with their ads in the most appealing way.
The biggest growth showed up in video ads as they now take 41% of the total spending on social advertising. What’s interesting is that carousel product ads and video ads make up 59% of the total spending, an increase of 10% from last year.
The drop in the link post ads and the rise in video and product carousel ads signals the transition from a more general approach to more specific ads for set objectives. As with the drop of clicks and the increase on spending and impressions, marketers are not moving away from ads, but they are actually more eager to experiment with different ad types to make the most of their investment.
In fact, one of the best reasons to invest in social advertising has to do with all the available creative options. Every ad format can lead to different results so it’s more important than ever to be aware of what you want to get out of every ad. A strategy can help you improve your ROI while allowing space for experimentation at the same time.
Instagram saw the biggest increase in spending
We’ve written many posts this year about Instagram. We’ve talked about the rise of Instagram Stories, the focus on ecommerce features and how the spending is split between Stories and Feed posts.
It’s not surprising then to see that Kenshoo’s report saw an increase of 44% on Instagram spending from last year. Instagram has been one of the most engaging platforms in 2018 and more marketers are eager to invest in it.
The biggest increase in spending was during Q4 2018 both for Stories and Feed ads. The end of the year is usually the busiest period when it comes to product launches, campaigns and exciting updates but there was still a stable growth in all quarters of 2018.
Stories ads may still claim a small part of the spending compared to the usual Instagram feed ads but we can assume that they will win ground over the next quarters.
The growth of Pinterest
Pinterest also saw impressive growth in social advertising over the last year. The new advertising options and the channel’s focus on visual discovery pushed more marketers to invest in Pinterest ads.
Pinterest is the ideal social platform to move from awareness to consideration and purchase. People spend time on Pinterest even before deciding what they want to purchase. Thus, ads can be very powerful in moving consumers across a brand’s funnel.
The ad spending on Pinterest has increased by 107% YoY. What’s interesting is that the increased budget is starting from Q3 2018 compared to the other channels that the growth takes place in Q4. This is proof that a Pinterest marketing strategy needs to dedicate more time to allow consumers to move from one stage of the funnel to another.
Pinterest can be effective for awareness campaigns but also for conversions and this is a great opportunity to explore in your marketing strategy.
Except for the ad spending, there was also an impressive increase of clicks by 100% from last year while impressions also saw an increase of 81% YoY.
What can we learn from these?
It’s useful to keep an eye on such reports to find out what’s working among other marketers.
We don’t necessarily need to follow all the trends but it’s still a good idea to monitor the best performing channels.
When it comes to social advertising, it’s good to see that there is increased spending from last year. More marketers understand the value of investing in social ads and it is encouraging to see the rising numbers in impressions and clicks in some channels.
Focusing on specific channels, Instagram was one of the favorite channels for marketers to invest their budget. Except for Instagram, Pinterest is also a channel that might be worth your attention especially for the process of product discovery.
As we are thinking of our strategy for the next quarters of 2019, it’s always a good idea to experiment with new ideas, channels and ad types to find what’s working better for our brand.
For example, how about A/B testing different ad types to find the most successful choice for your brand’s objectives?
Or if you’re already thinking a big campaign push for Q4 2019, is it time to involve Pinterest in your marketing strategy before it’s too late?