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UK social media ad spend up 51.1% in Q3

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

UK ad spend on Facebook and Instagram grew 51.1% year-over-year during the third quarter of 2021, fuelled by a 32% growth between Q2 and Q3.

According to Emplifi’s State of Social Media and CX report as ad spend increased, advertising costs also continued to climb with Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs) reaching their highest level since late 2020.

Meanwhile, advertisers’ Click-Through-Rates (CTRs) have remained stable with only slight fluctuations since this time last year. Global data indicates that Facebook ad reach climbed 3.7% year-over-year. However, in the UK, Facebook ad reach increased by 6% year-over-year, and by 17% between Q2 and Q3.

Video has been front of mind for UK marketers for many years, and it has seen a further increase in popularity this third quarter. When it comes to organic performance on Facebook within the eCommerce category, Facebook Live Video generated a median of 11 interactions per post, while Images gave 6 median interactions per post.

Video is also a cost-effective option – again, in eCommerce, the lowest CPC is with Facebook Video Feeds, followed by Facebook News Feed and Instagram Stories. The lowest CPM (cost per thousand) is with Facebook Video Feeds, followed by Instagram Stories and Facebook Instream Video. As brands pick up the pace with live shopping and social commerce, it’s not surprising to see similar results in the retail category – Facebook Live Video was also the highest performer, with 22 median interactions per post (up from 13 median interactions in the previous quarter).

“While it’s true brands are having to invest more of their advertising dollars to reach consumers across social media platforms, there are still massive opportunities for B2C advertisers when it comes to using Live Video within their social media marketing and social commerce initiatives,” said Emplifi CMO Zarnaz Arlia. “Live Video experiences on Facebook and Instagram are giving advertisers a new and fresh way to connect with their primary audiences, offering real-time conversation capabilities that drive measurable eCommerce gains. Unfortunately, many brands in the UK have not fully embraced social video tactics, leaving much room for improvement in this area.”

Other key UK statistics from the report include: 

  • The eCommerce category had the highest number of interactions among brand pages on Facebook and Instagram in the UK (42.2% on Facebook and 36.7% on Instagram).
  • Within the eCommerce category, the top-performing page on Facebook was Pink Boutique, with 2,354,125 interactions on 867 posts. Other well-performing pages included Misspap and History Hit. In terms of engagement, Netflix’s top three Facebook posts created 2,236,382 interactions.
  • For retail, Asda was the top-performing brand page on Facebook with 653,869 interactions on 62 posts. The top-performing profile on Instagram was JD Sports, which had 1,622,843 followers and generated 1,265,734 interactions on 225 posts. In terms of organic performance on Instagram in the UK, Carousel performed the best with 174 median post interactions, which was 69 more than the second-highest post type, being Video.

Emplifi’s State of Social Media and CX report looks at trends in Q3 and uses data downloaded at the beginning of October.

Ad spend on Instagram Stories soars nearly 70%

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Spend on Instagram Stories has grown by almost 70%, and now commands almost 10% of brands’ overall Facebook ad spend, while Facebook Stories only make up 0.3% of spend on the platform.

That’s according to a report on Instagram and Facebook Trends for Q3 2019 released by SocialBakers, which says the Ecommerce category continues to rise, ranking first on Facebook and second on Instagram in total interactions. Fashion rules on Instagram, increasing its engagement lead from 27.8% in Q2 to 31.9% in Q3 2019.

“The latest data shows that marketers continue to shift their resources to social media channels and formats that can better attract and engage users, but it’s a gradual evolution with a lot of moving parts,” said Socialbakers CEO, Yuval Ben-Itzhak. “The rise of social commerce, the changing roles of Instagram and Facebook, influencer marketing, and the exploding popularity of video are just a few of the developments that online marketers will need to analyse and incorporate into their strategies in the coming year.”

Key findings from the report:

  • Social commerce emerges as a major trend, as brands provide the ability to purchase products directly from social media platforms.
  • Sporting Goods, Beauty and Ecommerce brands have the lowest exit rates on Instagram Stories. Food, Beverage and Finance brands, however, are struggling to retain the attention of their audiences.
  • Use of the hashtag #ad by Instagram influencers grows by 60%. Walmart is the number one brand associated with Instagram influencers.
  • Video engagement has exploded across all platforms, spurred by new formats such as Facebook Live, IGTV and interactive add-ons for Instagram Stories.
  • Marketers must think ‘mobile first’ as paid ads are now seen on mobile devices 95.8% of the time compared to only 4.2% of the time on desktops.

Instagram’s superior engagement attracts ad spend

“Although brands still put the majority of their Facebook ad spend into Facebook feed (more than 60%), over the long term the data shows that the volume of ad spend on Facebook has been decreasing,” said Ben-Itzhak. “With a 10x jump in ad spend on Instagram Stories from January 2018 to the end of Q3 2019, it’s clear that marketing budgets are increasingly shifting their investments towards Instagram. The reason is obvious – Instagram has a much superior engagement rate compared to Facebook today.

“Looking at the world’s 50 biggest brand profiles on Instagram and Facebook, Instagram continues to have more interactions on profile posts than Facebook, which was also true in Q2 2019. Because Instagram now offers both large audience size and high engagement, it is pulling more ad spend to the platform. As Facebook ad spend declines, Instagram feed placement has been growing and has reached at least 20% of total ad spend since Q1 2019.”

Social Commerce takes off

“With its leading position for total interactions on both Facebook and Instagram, the Ecommerce category is hot,” said Ben-Itzhak. “And one of the biggest trends within Ecommerce is the expansion of social commerce. More and more, users are able to make purchases directly from social media platforms after they discover a product, instead of having to visit a shopping site’s app or an online store. There’s plenty of reason to believe that the growing social commerce trend will only continue.”

Influencer marketing is growing, not waning

“Influencer marketing proved in a big way that it’s still a popular marketing tool,” said Ben-Itzhak. “Reversing an overall downward trend, the use of #ad by influencers (to denote sponsorship) on Instagram really spiked at the end of Q3 2019, jumping up 60% by the end of the quarter. As these numbers demonstrate, consumers are increasingly seeking out reviews and trusted voices when making purchasing decisions. This will likely continue as holiday campaigns ramp up in Q4 2019 and the use of #ad is expected to soar over the previous high from December 2018.”

Video engagement is exploding

“Although images remain the leading post type on both Facebook and Instagram, the popularity of video and its ability to engage users is exploding,” said to Ben-Itzhak. “Facebook and Instagram have both added new formats for video content such as Facebook Live, IGTV, and interactive and moving add-ons for IG stories. Facebook Live is now the leading performer on that platform, with more than twice as many median post interactions as the second-closest post type.

“The latest data shows that different versions of video perform well and have grown. Facebook Live and regular video both had slight increases in interactions from Q2 to Q3, with regular video now ranking third in media post interactions. And on Instagram, video surged in Q3 2019 to nearly catch up with images in terms of media post interactions. For marketers, the popularity of video is a trend they should keep an eye on this holiday season and in the coming year.”

‘Mobile First’ is a must for social media marketers

“Looking at all brands ad accounts across Facebook and Instagram, the cost per click is nearly double for users engaging via desktop (0.25 USD) than via mobile (0.13 USD) ,” said Ben-Itzhak. “In addition, paid ads are seen on mobile devices 95.8% of the time compared to just 4.2% of the time on desktops. This is a slightly bigger disparity than we saw in Q2 2019 and reinforces the fact that ad spend plans need to always think of ‘mobile first.’”

“Of all the trends we uncovered this quarter, the rapid expansion of social commerce is one that we expect to have a tremendous impact in the year to come. Very soon it will be possible to run the entire marketing funnel from discovery to post-purchase customer care via social media,” Ben-Itzhak said. “We don’t need a crystal ball to predict that social commerce will eventually overtake Ecommerce as we know it today. Moving into 2020, we will see more and more Ecommerce features being added to the social media platforms.”

The complete Instagram and Facebook Q3 2019 Trends Report with supporting graphics is now available for free download.

Facebook Pay rollout begins

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Social media giant Facebook has begun the rollout of Facebook Pay, which its says will provide people with a convenient, secure and consistent payment experience across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. 

While people already use payments across Facebook’s apps to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other, the company says Facebook Pay will make transactions easier while continuing to ensure payment information is secure and protected. 

With Facebook Pay users can:

  • Add preferred payment methods once then use Facebook Pay where available to make payments and purchases on apps, instead of having to re-enter payment information each time
  • Set up Facebook Pay app-by-app, or choose to set it up for use across apps (where available) — that means Facebook won’t automatically set up Facebook Pay across all apps the user is active on, unless they choose to do so
  • View payment history, manage payment methods and update settings in one place 
  • Get real-time customer support via live chat in the US (and in more places around the world in the future)
  • Clearly understand which payment services are part of Facebook

Facebook Pay has begun rolling out on Facebook and Messenger this week in the US for fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select Pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace.

The company says it plans to bring Facebook Pay to more people and places, including for use across Instagram and WhatsApp.