Social Media Spend Up 60% Year-Over-Year

In Q1 2021, marketers spent 60% more on Facebook and Instagram advertising compared to Q1 2020, according to new research from Socialbakers. Its quarterly trends report notes ad reach for both platforms is also up, +8% globally and +23% in North America for the last 12 months.

Advertising costs grew 37% as ads space became more competitive. This is particularly true in North America, where ad costs grew 32% between 2020 and 2021.

More than half of advertising revenue was generated from the Facebook News Feed (57%), followed by the Instagram Feed (16%) and Instagram Stories (9%).

Certain industries flocked to social media during the past few months, specifically the auto sector, which increased ad spend by +102% year-over-year, the alcohol industry by +81%, and ecommerce by +66%. Fashion companies increased ad spend by +52%, while beauty was only up +20%.

In Q1 2021, the total audience size of the 50 biggest brand profiles was +40.3% bigger on Instagram than Facebook. Instagram’s audience grew 10.3% year-over-year while Facebook posted a meager +0.8% increase. Engagement also remained strong on Instagram which has 22.7x more interactions than Facebook while 53.7% of all brand posts were on Facebook.

However, influencer sponsorships struggled in Q1 2021, down 15% from 2020. While the past holiday season did boost collaborations, the year-over-year comparison reveals just how much influencer marketing has been impacted by the pandemic, a trend that’s likely to continue until the world opens up to free movement.

It remains to be seen, however, if marketers will return to their pre-pandemic playbooks post-recovery, especially if they are seeing a better return-on-investment with their current strategies.

One takeaway from Socialbakers' findings is that brands are continuing to double down on their social media ad investments, serving as a clear indicator that advertisers are using social channels to help close the customer experience gap that widened during the disruptions of 2020.

In advice mode, consider these results from Instagram: Shorter posts under 100 characters garner most interactions, and posts with only one to two hashtags performed more strongly than those with three to four hashtags, illustrating that tacking on unnecessary hashtags in an effort to gain more traction does not work, say researchers.

The minimum threshold to be included in the report is 50 profiles on Instagram and 50 pages on Facebook for any given category. Total interactions distribution is set at a minimum of 300, and #ad hashtags must be a minimum 10 #ad hashtags per month in the influencer category.

Check out the full report here.

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