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Instagram ‘attracting a larger audience than Facebook’ among brands

Instagram has a larger audience and nearly 20X more interactions than Facebook among top 50 brand profiles, according to Socialbakers’ new Q4 2019 Trends Report.

Key insights from the report include Instagram overtaking Facebook in audience size, the relative decline in engagement during the holiday season, the popularity of vertical videos, the dominance of women among fans and followers, growing ad spend, and the continuing explosion of influencer marketing. 

“The writing has been on the wall for some time, but now it’s official. When it comes to the top 50 biggest brand profiles, Instagram has a larger audience than Facebook,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak CEO, Socialbakers. “That development was not a surprise. What was unexpected in Q4 2019, however, was the relative decline in engagement during the holiday season. This is a warning sign that brands require a deeper understanding of which types of content their audiences find compelling, and an agile method to get that content in front of them.”

The key findings of the Q4 2019 Trends report include:

·         For the first time globally, Instagram surpassed Facebook in audience size – but for the top UK brand profiles, Facebook still has a marginally bigger audience, but greater engagement is found on Instagram

·         Despite efforts to attract consumers during the holiday period, post interactions for both Instagram and Facebook were lower in Q4 2019 than Q4 2018

·         Women make up the majority of fans and followers of brand pages on Instagram and Facebook, representing over half (56.4%) of the audience engaging with brands

·         Whilst 70% of videos on Facebook brand pages are shot horizontally, viewers are more likely to complete a vertical video than horizontal (29.9% vs. 22.2% respectively)

·         Ad spend on Instagram Stories increased by 40% over the last year, and by 91% over the last two years. Meanwhile, in the UK, brands are still posting more to the Instagram News Feed

·         The number of influencers using #Ad exploded by 90.5% in Q4 2019

·         The Services category (including lawyers, accounting services and IT services) found a 66.7% jump in engagement

Based on the top 50 biggest brand profiles worldwide, there was a notable change in Q4 2019. For the first time, the total audience on Instagram surpassed the total audience size on Facebook. Additionally, the total interactions on Instagram were nearly 20 times larger than those on Facebook. So, even though the top 50 brands published more posts on Facebook, the engagement on those posts didn’t reach the numbers that Instagram was able to achieve.

For the top UK brand profiles Facebook still has a marginally bigger audience. However, while brands are posting roughly the same amount of content to Facebook and Instagram, they are seeing significantly more engagement on Instagram. The lesson here is that UK brands need to focus on their Instagram strategy as by splitting their content between both platforms they are likely leaving interactions on the table. 

Engagement: A surprising drop in interactions

In the UK the industries that are seeing the most engagement across Facebook and Instagram are ecommerce, fashion and retail. The data shows that ecommerce brands are really leveraging the potential of Facebook, whilst Fashion brands are running the show on Instagram. 

Despite attempts to attract consumers during the holiday season, the relative post interactions for both Instagram and Facebook were lower in Q4 2019 than a year ago. This was true even among the most successful industries on social media. Fashion, the top industry on Instagram, decreased by 19.4%, while the top industry on Facebook, Ecommerce, decreased by 9.6% versus Q3 2019. This may indicate that brands need to get smarter about the content they post, and focus on top quality content in smaller volumes to increase engagement.

However, one interesting success story in Q4 engagement is the Services category. It achieved a 66.7% jump in engagement on Instagram compared to Q3 2019. On Facebook, Services finished fourth with 7.6% of total interactions after not making the top eight in the previous quarter. Services is a wide-ranging category that includes lawyers, accounting services, hairdressers, car repairs, IT services, conference and event organisers, and weight loss courses.

Format: Vertical videos pull viewers in

Marketers often wonder whether viewers prefer videos that were shot horizontally or those that were shot vertically. Currently, about 70% of videos on Facebook brand pages are shot horizontally. But according to Q4 data from those Facebook brand pages, vertical videos perform better than horizontal videos across the board. For videos shorter than 30 seconds (which is the most popular video length), vertical videos were completed by viewers 29.9% of the time, while horizontal videos were completed 22.2% of the time. 

Demographics: Women are dominant on social media

According to the Q4 2019 data, women make up the majority of fans and followers of brand pages on both Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, 58% of brand page followers were female, comprising the majority of every age demographic. On Facebook, women made up 56.7% of the total audience of page fans, although there were slightly more men in the 18-24 age demographic. Women are also the largest group of people mentioning and interacting with brand pages in the prime marketing demographic of 25-34. Overall, women represented 56.4% of the audience engaging with brands in Q4 2019.

Ad spend: Instagram rises but Facebook remains the leader

As in past quarters, ad spend on Instagram Stories continues its rapid growth, although Facebook Feed remains the leader with 58.3% of total ad spend. For the first time, Instagram Stories reached 10% of ad spend in the second half of 2019. Overall, the spend on Instagram Stories increased by 40% over the last year, and by 91% over the last two years.

In the UK the data shows that brands are still posting more to the News Feed. Since Stories are proving to be a highly engaging content format globally, perhaps UK brands need to up their game on Stories. 

Other ad spend trends include the rise of Instagram Explore and Facebook Marketplace as a destination for advertising dollars. In its first five months, the percentage of ad spend on Instagram Explore grew to 1.32%. And over the last year, ad spend on Facebook Marketplace grew from 0.72% in December 2018 to 1.31% at the end of 2019, an increase of more than 80%.

Influencer marketing: No sign of slowing down

One trend that remains unchanged is the skyrocketing growth of influencer marketing. In Q4 2019, the number of influencers using #Ad or the local language version in their posts exploded by 90.5%. For the third straight quarter, the top Instagram brand profile in the world associated with influencers was Walmart, which had 854 mentions from 619 influencers in Q4 2019. Other profiles with successful influencer partnerships included Daniel Wellington, iDeal Of Sweden, and FashionNova.com.

The complete Q4 2019 Social Media Trends Report with supporting graphics is now available for free download.

Burberry tops Instagram Brit list

Fashion, cars and luxury brands dominate the chart of the most popular Instagram feeds in the UK with Iconsquare’s second annual ranking once againe putting Burberry in pole position.

In terms of media brans, the BBC News, with 2.5m followers, was the most popular British media brand on Instagram, followed by Vogue and Top Gear close with 2.3m followers each.

However, all the brands in the UK listing are dwarved by international brands such as Nike, Victoria’s Secret and Chanel.

The top UK Instagram favourite brands, as over end November, are:-

Burbery – 10,400,000 followers

Topshop – 9,200,000 followers

Jimmy Choo – 7,300,000 followers

ASOS – 6,600,000 followers

Jaguar – 5,500,000 followers

Alexander McQueen – 5,300,000 followers

Aston Martin – 4,700,000 followers

Bentley – 4600,000 followers

Stella McCartney – 4,500,000 followers

Rolls-Royce – 4,200,000 followers

“A strong social media presence is an essential component of any successful marketing strategy, “ said Iconsquare CEO Romain Ouzeau.

“The top ten most popular British brands on Instagram have all been able to successfully promote aspirational lifestyles to a wide audience of people and will reap rewards this holiday season.

 

9% of UK marketing professionals plan to spend £100,000 on influencers

Research by UK-based digital marketing firm Takumi has found that 9% of UK marketers are expecting to spend over £100,000 on influencers during the next 12 months.

Only 4% of marketers polled said that they had no plans to spend money on influencers.

39% planned to spend up to £10,000, with 20% estimating a potential spend between £10,000 and £100,000.

“A lot of people are saying that influencer marketing is an over-hyped fad – that there’s no ROI and it’ll soon disappear. But as these results show, it’s clear influencer marketing is here to stay. Brands recognise its value and are therefore dedicating big budgets towards it,” commented Mats Stigzelius, co-founder and CEO of Takumi.

“Of the professionals we surveyed for example, 61% stated they now feel they are able to accurately measure engagement levels and return on investment, and as platforms like Instagram continue to roll out new features to signpost promoted content, that’s only going to increase.”

The figures support the belief by many marketers that working with influencers is an effective strategy to pursue, with 26% rate influencer marketing as much more effective at targeting consumers than other forms of of advertising, such as adverts on social media channels.

“The size of the accounts used in marketing campaigns is particularly interesting,”added Stigzelius.

“Many people still wrongly prefer macro influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, but the reality is that you now reach the same audience with micro influencers, while also benefitting from higher engagement.

“For example, working with a celebrity might give you one social media post. Working with micro influencers, you could generate the same reach and 100 pieces of social content with exactly the same budget. From our experience, we’re seeing more and more brands realise that celebrity isn’t everything and ditching big names in favour of micro-influencers. It’s a trend we only expect to continue.”

UK’s love for cars tops social media posts

A report by social media analytics platform, Netbase, has revealed the UK’s love of luxury car brands.

The Brand Love List report looks at the brands consumers express the most love for in social media posts, with Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW 3 Series and Porsche 911 just some of the models that consumers are crazy about, with BMW, Audi and Porsche all featuring in the report’s top 10.

This is the second year that the report has been run. In the UK, Apple held onto the top spot, but showed that Google, in second place, was narrowing the gap which last year was 400,000, now down to 130,000 along with a lot of positive sentiment for Google Classroom. The remainder of the top five was unchanged with Lego in third with an abundance of shared excitement for themed Lego such as Lego Batman, Tesco in fourth with popular campaign hashtags including #triedforless and #bagsofhelp while BMW was ranked fifth.

The European Top Five brands differed only slightly from the UK with BMW taking fourth spot and consumer goods brand Adidas coming in at fifth place. The automotive sector once again proved popular with customers expressing much love, particularly in relation to the Porsche 911. While consumer goods brands including Gucci, Adidas, Lego and Christian Dior S.A. accounted for nearly 45% of the top loved brands, they only represented 21% of the mentions. Conversely, technology which was dominated by Apple and Google but also included SAP, Siemens and Dyson, represented 10% of the conversation they also represented over 55% of mentions.

While there’s much love for consumer goods brands, they still don’t even come close to the volume of technology conversation across Europe.

The data was gathered using NetBase’s social media analytics platform to surface the strongest, most positive consumer emotions towards brands from 2.4 million English language posts of earned mentions. Earned mentions mean those posts that were not posted by the brand itself, inclusive of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and millions of other sources during the one-year period April 2016 to April 2017. It then identified the 25 UK brands that get the most love.

The European report used the same sources across the same period from 6.5 million English language posts of earned mentions in 50+ European countries and identified a list of the 50 most loved brands.

Commenting on the UK report Paige Leidig, Chief Marketing Officer, NetBase said: “What’s interesting about automotive is that brands represent 25% of the list but account for only 13% of the conversation suggesting that there is an opportunity for them to spread the love and engage more influencers in conversation.

“The dominance of technology in social conversation is no surprise but the fact that Apple and Google are so far out in front indicates that they have now become an everyday part of the English language.”

www.netbase.com

Hootsuite partnerships to bridge the paid and organic gap…

Considered to be the most widely used social media management platform, Hootsuite has announced its new partnerships with six leading technology and social advertising solution groups which, in turn, will allow users to complement their organic social media efforts with optimised social advertising campaigns.

The six partners are:

  1. Popimedia – a subsidiary of Publicis, and an Ad-Tech company that helps brands optimise spend, save time, and scale media on Facebook.
  2. AdEspresso – the best-in-class self-service solution for Facebook and Instagram advertising optimisation.
  3. Mediative – one of North America’s largest integrated digital marketing and media companies.
  4. Kenshoo – the global leader in agile marketing.
  5. Adaptly – a technology and services company that enables advertisers to scale campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  6. Nanigans – the leading provider of advertising automation software for in-house marketing teams.

According to the company, users will now have the flexibility to choose ‘best-of-breed’ technology and service solutions to help optimise and manage social advertising campaigns across all major social channels. In particular, integrations with Kenshoo, AdEspresso, and Popimedia will make it accessible for users to manage paid social campaigns and organic social channels all in one place, directly from the Hootsuite dashboard.

Senior vice president of Labs, Corporate and Business Development at Hootsuite, Matt Switzer said: “More than ever, brands are investing in paid social media advertising to complement their overall social initiatives and marketing campaigns. Hootsuite’s partnerships with these market-leading social ads solutions will help give our enterprise customers a cohesive and comprehensive view into their entire social strategy.”

Industry Spotlight: Instagram Insights – too late to the party?

Last month, the platform launched Stories, last week (August 15), it launched Business Tools, and this week (August 31), it announced users can now zoom in on pictures. It seems like the platform is pushing out updates left, right and centre.

“So? These functions have been around for years on other platforms”, I hear you say. And you’d be right.

In fact, when the Business Tools and insights analysis function launched last week, I was slightly taken aback by the excitement it caused in the marketing industry. Of course, it’s great news and absolutely enables marketers to better target core audiences, but being truthful, as marketers, we should have been frustrated that it took this long – this function should have been around from the start.

With over 200,000 businesses already using Instagram for advertising, it makes me shudder wondering how these adverts managed to create relevant content for its customers, if at all.

So what exactly is Business Tools?

In amongst features such as business profiles, contact buttons and the ability to promote certain posts, Instagram’s new Business toolkit allows brands to gain insights into posts, such as which ones perform better than others and with which demographic.

This analysis is invaluable to brands. With insight, a brand’s reach, frequency rate, success of product discovery and customer loyalty can all be gathered. Knowing which posts work and using data to determine a change in direction (or not) is the critical key to a compelling, engaging and successful platform strategy. 

For Instagram, it couldn’t come soon enough

While insight analysis on Facebook and Twitter has been around for years, it’s difficult to comprehend how brands have managed to create consistent marketing strategies across social platforms until now.

Official figures released in June (2016) revealed the platform now has half a billion registered users, double the amount it had two years ago.

And with more than 300 million people using the service every day, it is vital brands get their strategies right, especially if you’re targeting the 90 per cent of users who are under 35. When stats show that 28% of users under 35 have purchased a product as a direct result of viewing it on the network in the last six months, it’s easy to understand why nailing Instagram is essential. 

In this era of purpose where visual content triumphs over written, and the need for brands to talk with consumers, rather than at them is integral, Instagram, although half a decade old, still offers a fresh approach to help brands tell visual, authentic and transportive stories.

So what’s next for the platform?

It’s taken six years for the platform to get up to speed with its competitors, namely Facebook and Twitter, with its recent introductions, and no doubt there’s stiff competition from the likes of Snapchat and, although in testing, Lifestage.

But on such a roll, and now on par on its biggest competitors, its fair game what comes next.

 

Words by Nina Sawetz, PR and communications consultant

 

As head of Editorial for Bottle, Nina leads PR strategy and comms activity for the agency’s consumer division, and has extensive experience working with brands including Goodyear, Poundland, Interflora, Golden Wonder and AXA PPP healthcare.

 

Nina also runs FuturePR.co looking at ongoing trends and the changing landscape of PR and communications.

 

Contact Nina at nina.sawetz@wearebottle.com, and via Twitter @BottleNina or @FuturePRco.

More marketers turning to Facebook with paid-for marketing budgets…

In a survey collecting opinions on organic and paid-for marketing from 300 social media marketers, the B2B research and marketing firm, Clutch, found more than 60 per cent are approaching Facebook with paid-for marketing budgets; with the video platform YouTube coming in second at 34 per cent; 33 per cent for Twitter; and LinkedIn amounting to 30 per cent of paid budgets.

Although the majority of respondents (80 per cent) generally opt for a combination of organic and paid-for marketing, there are companies that have chosen not to use paid-for (13 per cent), despite 60 per cent claiming paid-for social media marketing is much more effective than organic.

In addition, the survey also acknowledges some significant differences between the social media marketing of B2B and B2C; however, both sectors are using the mediums in the same context.

Read the full survey here

Ted Baker optimising its social channels with new ‘Mission Impeccable’ campaign…

The British luxury fashion chain, Ted Baker, is reaping the extensive benefits associated with social media marketing with the recent launch of its brand new James Bond-themed campaign, ‘Mission Impeccable’.

As well as sharing ‘classified documents’ (picture sharing) via its existing social media channels including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – where customers can participate in an online scavenger hunt and decode – the campaign comprises of a film directed by Guy Ritchie which enables consumers to click and purchase the autumn/winter clothes that the actors are wearing.

Google also takes centre stage with the inclusion of a prize giveaway to those who read a phrase displayed on Ted Baker store windows to the Google Voice app, which generates clues before a prize is awarded.

 

Learn more about the Mission Impeccable campaign here