New Study Shows Big Gains For Social On Stories & Video
The gradual story-ifiction of social media was perhaps one of the leading digital themes of 2018.
Alternatively, at least, one of the less controversial ones.
When considered alongside data misuse, abuse and general platform villainy.
As is often the way, platforms shift product direction.
Users respond, in kind, behaviourally.
Eventually, marketers begin to calibrate, adjusting plans and tactics to accommodate.
On this basis, it should come as no surprise that Story ad spend has mushroomed year on year, in particular on Instagram, according to Kenshoo’s 2019 Q2 Trends Report.
Instagram Story ads grew 186% in spending compared to the same quarter last year, while Instagram Feed ad spending slowed to just 21%, which is slower than the main Facebook News Feed.
To play devils advocate, it would be interesting to find out how much of this is 'accidental' since Stories are pre-selected as an ad placement on most campaign types?
The Kenshoo Quarterly Trends Report represents the analysis of over $5.5 billion in annualised marketer spend, including analysed performance data from 3,000+ advertiser and agency accounts across 40 industry verticals and over 150 countries.
So, it’s pretty decent.
It Should Probably Be Facebook & Instagram, Not Just Instagram
Facebook dominates in terms of reach, stickiness, business uptake and most areas that matter to marketers.
Therefore, for smart marketers, it needn’t be a zero-sum approach to Instagram or Facebook ads, but rather considering how to use both in complement.
For example, the highly visual, aspirational nature of Instagram makes it useful for branding, while Facebook’s stronger click-through rate makes it better for more performance led activity.
However, rather than running branding and acquisition campaigns in separate silos, both can be integrated as part of the same wider ad funnels via Facebook Ads Manager.
The broader Facebook ecosystem, encompassing Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc., has not been designed to cannibalise the core business.
Or, at least isn’t heading that way any longer, since most were absorbed via acquisition.
For marcomms teams, the main consideration in 2019/2020, therefore, is how to optimise activity across the Facebook ecosystem. Compounding performance and results ecosystem-wide.
Rather than just thinking about the Facebook News Feed or Insta Stories.
After all, these are just two placements for content and/or ads.
Social Video Ads Exploding
Social media ad spend is up 37%, with much of that growth being powered by video.
Social video investment is up 53% year on year and accounts for around 40% of total social ad budgets.
Given how steeply social ad costs have risen over the past 24 months, it makes little sense to be still running image ads or maybe even image carousels for many.
Since, for marketers that are, you probably have some *very* expensive banners there…
Most of the new ad units which have launched over the past couple of years tend to be video led, or, at a minimum, more immersive in nature. i.e. Facebook Instant Experience ads (used to be called Canvas) or Collections ads.
Both are more compelling, persuasive and probably even cheaper to run, due to better performance than standard image ads.
One slight drawback, depending on your perspective, with video (and even the two units above), is that it is less useful for driving traffic.
Hence, as social video spend has expanded, social ad click-through rates have fallen. In fact, Kenshoo claims, they’ve been falling for the past five-quarter straight:
‘With social advertising, CTR is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of how to interpret this trend.
While clicks are almost always a desirable user action in digital marketing, the ad mix for social is swinging towards video and other visual formats like Stories, which are more likely to drive top-of-mind awareness to achieve branding goals, rather than direct engagement.
So, versus other ad channels, a falling CTR in Social might not be indicative of the overall performance of the channel.’
Therefore, perhaps before diving headlong into greater investment in Stories and social video, it would be wise to clarify your overarching business objectives.