Global social media trends: Ad spend doubled year on year during Christmas peak

Mar 30, 2021 | Uncategorized

Global social media trends: Ad spend doubled year on year during Christmas peak
Global social media ad spend doubled during the holiday peak in 2020 compared to 2019 and continues to climb into 2021, according to new research.

The latest report from Socialbakers, the leading social media marketing platform, has shown that despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global social media ad spend and ad reach both continued to grow in 2020. The trends highlight the continuing trust in digital channels, and the resiliency of the digital marketing community.

Other findings from COVID-19 Impact Report include:

  • Ad spend grew by 31% in the UK during the Christmas season
  • Global ad reach increased by 30% in 2020 compared to 2019
  • Public sentiment towards AstraZeneca fluctuated over the year

Global ad spend doubled YoY, and jumped 31% in the UK

When looking at Facebook Ad Spend, Socialbakers’ data revealed that the UK, like the rest of the world, saw a drop at the beginning of spring 2020 followed by a quick recovery with advertisers spending record levels. Socialbakers’ data show year-over-year Facebook ad spend during the Christmas season doubled, and in the UK, ad spend jumped 31%. This emphasised how digital channels became a key tool for reaching audiences sheltering at home.

“Year-over-year comparisons show ad spend has continued to climb into the first quarter of this year, indicating a strong confidence in digital advertising across regions,” said Ben-Itzhak.

“Based on the past 12 months of ad spend and ads reach trends, the biggest takeaway for advertisers is that the digital marketing community is resilient and able to adapt to the most challenging circumstances. The digital transformation efforts that have taken hold over the last year — from in-app purchasing to the influx of businesses launching online buying options — will only bolster digital marketing tactics and deepen confidence in social ad spend.”

Global ad reach jumped 30% and fluctuated between regions

According to Socialbakers’ data, Facebook Ads Reach (the number of users who view an ad at least once) increased 30% globally in 2020 compared to 2019, with regional fluctuations varying between, a small decline of 1% in the UK to an astounding 96% jump in North America.

“This overall increase in global ad reach can be attributed to a number of factors, one being that users are spending more time online interacting with branded content,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, President at Socialbakers. “Another factor is the sheer size of the Facebook audience. With over 2.7 billion users, no other platform can offer brands the same reach for their ads. The shift we’ve seen in consumer behaviour driven by the COVID19 pandemic has been dramatic. And with more people spending time online, it’s likely consumers have been more eager to engage with ads — making it easier for Facebook’s algorithm to serve more ads to its users.”

Sentiment data revealed differences between vaccine providers

In addition to Facebook ad reach and ad spend trends, Socialbakers analysed sentiment trends toward vaccinations and found that Pfizer was the top healthcare brand worldwide when measuring Facebook interactions for posts related to the vaccine or virus.

But when it came to sentiment, AstraZeneca was the brand that saw the most significant change in positive sentiment over the same time period. In 2021 so far, fewer than 5% of Facebook conversations about AstraZeneca had been positive, compared to 40% during the same time period in 2020.

Other vaccine brands are seeing much less drastic fluctuations and much less negative sentiment overall. Johnson & Johnson saw 27% positive conversations so far this year, compared to 39% this time last year, and Pfizer 23%, compared to 27%. Moderna saw the lowest negative sentiment on average, at just 12%, versus AstraZeneca’s 32%, Johnson & Johnson’s 15%, and Pfizer’s 18%.

The full Socialbakers report, “State of Social Media Marketing a Year After Covid,” can be downloaded here.

All topics

Previous editions

Get email edition