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  • Julian Jackson

Digital ad spend rockets with social media and real time video the biggest gainers.

According to an industry insight report from Socialbakers, the leading social media marketing platform, its comprehensive review and report on Social Media Trends for Q4 2020, reveals that global social media ad spend skyrocketed during the last quarter of 2020, despite the continuing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Glen Stidolph, CEO, REVO Sports. 14th Sept 2021

Other insights from the report include.

  • Worldwide spend on social media advertising was up an incredible 50.3% at the peak of Christmas holiday season compared with the same period in 2019

  • Video content, particularly live streaming, commanded by far the most significant portion due to newer social media platform shopping capabilities, as this ‘social-commerce' trend that has taken significant hold with Gen Z'ers in China is now making better inroads in the U.S helping social media ad spend in the 4th quarter of 2020 achieve an unprecedented year on year increase of 92.3%

  • Also, a significant insight was that Influencer marketing appeared to cool in Q4, dipping 17.6% year-over-year. The research indicating that the most effective ad tactics are changing to suit these new consumer preferences with new technology to facilitate

A deeper understanding of the insights emerging from the Socialbakers report, with people increasingly gravitating toward their smartphones to stay connected and entertained during the long lock down periods caused by covid19, the report data would point to q4 being a watershed moment for the social media ad channel with marketers pouring significant spend into tactics that would engage homebound consumers and get them to shop during an uncertain holiday period.

With brands doubling down on digital marketing being a "new normal," especially as they look to drive e-commerce sales, there is even greater significance in where those brand dollars are going as it is changing in ways that are more than likely to carry implications beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

The report shows that Live streaming is top of the ad spend agenda and increasingly being used as an outlet to generate direct sales, with platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok all integrating new social shopping capabilities. The report shows that Facebook Live was the most engaging format on the social networking site in Q4, and video content made up 18% of all Instagram posts.

"The increasing popularity of Live Video content and the momentum around Social Live Shopping experiences highlights just how important social media is as a revenue generation tool," as cited by Socialbakers in its report.

Directly shoppable media, including livestreams, are forecast by the Interactive Advertising Bureau to become one of the fastest-growing advertising categories very soon amid the emergence of a "storeless economy" which the industry group says already accounted for $120 billion in global sales last year. The desire to blend engaging content and social commerce, particularly when targeting smartphone-savvy young shoppers was a big influence in the 2020 holiday season brand ad strategies.

As an example of Real Time engaging content and social commerce, Walmart deployed a first-of-its-kind TikTok livestream that let viewers tap on products shown in the video and check them out and purchase without having to exit the app. The 1 hour long Walmart's hour-long ‘live show’ centred on popular content creators, demonstrating the power of online personalities in winning over customers.

As the report shows that traditional influencer marketing, especially #ad sponsored posts, continued to slide in Q4, this would further suggest that marketers have begun to retool how they leverage KOL’s and internet stars in their marketing campaigns using the new social commerce technologies during real time engagement.

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