The latest Q1 trends report from Socialbakers, the leading social media marketing platform, showed Facebook and Instagram ad spend was up 60% year-over-year — an impressive growth rate after a record setting year for social media ad spend.
Key findings include:
• Global social media ad spend jumped 60% in Q1 2021, compared to Q1 2020
• Instagram audience sizes for top brands now 40% larger than Facebook – Instagram’s audience grew by 10%
• Engagement remained stronger on Instagram, a huge 23x more than Facebook
• Advertising costs grew more than 30% as competition hots up
• Influencer posts using #ad drop 15% globally, and 21% in the UK
• Facebook Pages mentioning Black History Month up 141% as brands engage in societal debates
Facebook’s ad reach grew around the world, up 8% globally and 23% in North America. Advertising costs on the social platforms also grew more than 30% as ad space became more competitive.
“From what we’ve seen already this year, we predict 2021 will be another big year for social media marketing teams, with social commerce and in-app purchasing capabilities becoming even more important as brands look for new ways to streamline the customer journey,” said Socialbakers President Yuval Ben-Itzhak. “Advertisers doubled-down on their social media ad investments during the first quarter of this year, continuing the same patterns we saw throughout the second half of 2020.”
Global ad spend grows 60% year-over-year
In Q1 2021, marketers spend 60% more on Facebook and Instagram advertising compared to Q1 in 2020 – see chart below. For particular industries too, social media ad spend skyrocketed. The auto sector increased ad spend by 102% YoY, the alcohol industry by as much as 81%, and e-commerce by 66%.
In the UK, the Ecommerce sector also took up 33% of the total interactions of Brands pages on Facebook, and on Instagram, takes up 35%, closely followed by Fashion at 31%. The increase in social media ad spend indicates the continued trust from brand marketers in these digital channels.
Instagram audiences grows 10% for the top 50 brands, and larger than Facebook
Instagram audience sizes also saw major gains, with Instagram audiences up 10.3% for the top 50 brands on the platform, compared to Q1 2020. Instagram audiences belonging to the top brands are now 40% larger than their audiences on Facebook. Engagement also remained significantly stronger on Instagram, which had 22.7x more interactions than Facebook – see chart below.
“The growth we’re seeing across Facebook and Instagram is a clear indicator that brands are experiencing big wins when they rely on social media platforms to help close the customer experience gap that widened during the disruptions of 2020”, said Ben-Itzhak.
Influencer posts using #ad drops 15% globally, and 21% in the UK
The report also looks into key influencer marketing statistics, revealing a 15% year-over-year drop in influencer sponsorships. In the UK, the number of influencer posts using #ad dropped by 21% – see chart below. The top Brands profile with Instagram influencers, was Pretty Little Thing, with 348 influencers and 1,079 mentions.
Facebook Pages mentioning Black History Month up 141%
The report revealed that the number of Facebook Pages mentioning of Black History Month was up 141% in 2021, reflecting how social issues took priority across Facebook’s platform during Q1.
It’s become clear that silence – staying away from difficult social issues or conversations – is tolerated less and less. While some social issues may not have a direct relationship to the business, a brand’s values matter more and more to the audience, making it more important to highlight where a brand stands on various issues.
The biggest takeaways from the report: The increase in ad costs signals a more competitive environment for brands in the months ahead, with the role of social media becoming an integral part of the pre- and post-purchase customer journey. Socialbakers Q1 data underscores the need for brands to maintain CX strategies across social channels to meet customer expectations and close the CX gap.