Digital retailers are increasing their social media advertising budgets to showcase products where shoppers congregate socially. But brands must use automation strategies to replace traditional manual steps and add cross-platform approaches to stay successful, according to a report on the growing adoption of social advertising.
New research from social advertising automation platform Smartly.io outlines the impact of changes resulting from the global pandemic on ad spend and strategies adopted by social media platforms this year. The company released its third annual report on the state of social advertising in early January.
Smartly surveyed 100 industry leaders in e-commerce, retail, gaming, travel and financial services. The report examined year-over-year results while exploring new trends that will continue to inform social advertising and marketing plans in 2022.
Smartly published a second version of the same study titled “Global Social Advertising Trends 2022” on its website focusing on how the world’s biggest brands are planning their social advertising for the coming year.
B2C companies are mobilizing social attention
According to this edition of the report, one of the most notable trends is the difficulty many businesses are having in adapting their digital marketing strategies to the return of consumer foot traffic to physical stores.
Much of the brand’s business remains online, as the digital trend shows few signs of slowing down. Digital advertising is critical for businesses that rely on e-commerce and have forged digital fulfillment methods since the pandemic.
Social media is one of the primary spaces in which consumer businesses compete for customer attention and loyalty. Today’s consumers use an average of eight social media platforms. A cross-platform approach is therefore essential for long-term success.
“We’re not surprised to see more brands diversifying their ad spend across multiple social platforms,” said Riikka Söderlund, global chief marketing officer at Smartly.io. “As more and more touchpoints become available, the consumer journey becomes more fragmented, making it even more difficult to predict and capture consumer attention.”
Confusing double processing
Smartly’s press release distributed to the E-Commerce Times included a link to the same press release distributed on Business Wire. Both referred to a report called “State of Social Advertising Report”.
The press release also included an attached PDF report of the same study now titled “Global Social Advertising Trends 2022”. Versions of the report were also available on the company’s website after completing a request form soliciting business contact details from those requesting to download the PDF file.
On first reading, the PDF edition of the research appeared to be an expanded version of a related study conducted by the company. The report provided more survey results and graphs that were not in the other report showing the data analysis. The search details were largely the same, but the overall content was presented differently.
The two editions of the report under two different titles suggested that the research ran parallel to two related studies. The E-Commerce Times contacted Smartly for clarification and comment on the study.
“We refer to the report slightly differently in a few places, but the State of Social Advertising Report and the 2022 Global Social Advertising Trends Report are the same,” said Account Manager Andrés Warren. associate at PAN Communications, at the E-Commerce Times. .
Smartly did not answer three more questions after confirming that the separate reports were based on a single study.
Splurge in social ads
The research highlighted the fragmentation of consumer journeys as well as the expansion of social media channels for advertising.
Researchers see a cross-platform approach taking center stage this year. Additionally, the increased interest in automating at least parts of the social advertising process will help advertisers expand their reach. This will allow marketers to meet customers at every stage of their journey and communicate a cohesive brand story, according to Söderlund.
This year, many companies plan to increase their ad spend on social platforms more than last year. Facebook is still the leader in advertising, with 98% of advertisers buying ads there. Respondents (87%) said they would also increase their ad spend there.
Instagram is one of the new must-have advertising platforms, with 94% (up from 90% last year) of advertisers using point-of-sale. It was the biggest year-over-year jump, from 38 to 73 percent.
Source: Smartly.io | WBR Previews
TikTok is also seeing a drastic increase in ad revenue. Some 18% of respondents said they would increase their spending on this platform, an increase of 8% from last year.
Return on ad spend (ROAS) is also driving a clear shift in how marketers choose to allocate social media ad budgets, the report finds. For the second year in a row, Instagram had the highest social ads ROAS (46%), up 4% from last year.
Source: Smartly.io | WBR Previews
As advertisers see ROAS, they allocate budgets accordingly, leading to further diversification in platform spend, the researchers found.
Automation is lacking
Automation, while increasingly popular as a way to remove steps from processes, needs to be used much more. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents indicated that their processes for creating and delivering social media ads still involved time-consuming manual processes. Last year’s survey showed that 72% said the same.
Almost the same number of respondents (69%) said they don’t use automation technology for social media ad creation, down from 81% last year. It should also be noted that only 17% of current users of automation technology report using it successfully.
This year, advertisers expect:
- Use more creative automation (31%, up from 13% last year);
- Develop their internal marketing teams to better manage social media advertising (29%);
- Outsource social media advertising more (29%);
- Invest more in social media advertising tools and technologies (26%).
The Global Social Advertising Trends 2022 report shows that social media advertising remains one of the most important methods to grow their brands and connect with customers.
Companies are devoting a significant portion of their marketing budgets to social media advertising, but they are also devoting more resources to social media channels that have generated strong returns.
Instagram is one of the most sought-after platforms for social media advertising among consumer-facing businesses. Organizations that intend to compete for both attention and loyalty should not ignore this channel.
But the report also says consumer-facing companies are still struggling with certain aspects of their advertising. The ad development and creation process is bogged down by manual processes. Many companies also say they struggle to coordinate with their creative teams to develop meaningful creative assets that align with their campaigns.
To overcome these issues, businesses need to adopt automation tools that streamline the process of developing, creating, and managing their social media ad campaigns. They need to identify and leverage turnkey services that use both data and human creativity to produce compelling ads.
This represents the future of social media advertising and will provide businesses with the edge they need to stand out in a noisy marketplace.
The State of Social Advertising report, however, did not present these findings.