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State of Social Advertising Report

Smartly.io, the leading social advertising automation platform for creative and performance marketers, announced new research outlining how changes resulting from the global pandemic will impact ad spend and strategies on social media platforms in 2022. Smartly.io’s third annual “State of Social Advertising Report” surveyed 100 leaders across the eCommerce, retail, gaming, travel and financial services industries. The report examined year-over-year findings while exploring new trends that will continue to inform social advertising and marketing plans in 2022.

Diversification among social media platforms is key for advertising effectiveness

With today’s consumers using an average of eight social media platforms, a multi-platform approach is essential for long-term success. Advertisers have clearly realized this need – 51% of respondents note half or more of their overall marketing budgets are allocated to social media advertising, with those budgets being diversified across platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and more. Facebook is still a leader, with 98% of advertisers buying ads from the platform. However, we are seeing marked growth from others – 94% of advertisers use Instagram (up from 90% last year) and 88% use YouTube. TikTok has clear power as an emerging social platform, with a 9% increase, jumping from 34% last year to 43% this year – nearly half of all advertisers are already spending on TikTok.

“We aren’t surprised to see more brands diversify their ad spend across multiple social platforms,” said Riikka Söderlund, Global Director of Marketing at Smartly.io. “As more touchpoints become available, the consumer journey becomes more fragmented, making it even harder to predict and capture consumer attention. In light of this, and as capabilities and offerings across social media expand, we are seeing a multi-platform approach take center stage this year. This combined with increased interest in automating at least parts of the social advertising process will help advertisers expand their reach in order to meet customers at every step and stage of their journey and communicate a cohesive brand story.”

ROAS drives shifting ad spend allocations

In 2022, many companies plan to increase advertising spend on social platforms, even more than they did last year. While Facebook is still a leader for many brands, with 87% of respondents saying they will increase ad spend there, Instagram saw the biggest year-over-year jump – from 38% to 73%. Again, underscoring the rise of TikTok, 18% of respondents note they will increase spend on this platform -- an 8% increase from last year.

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is also driving a clear shift in how marketers choose to allocate ad budgets on social media. For the second year in a row, Instagram has emerged the winner when it comes to seeing the best ROAS from social ads (46%), up 4% from last year. As advertisers see ROAS, they are allocating budgets accordingly — driving further diversification among platform spend.

The need for automation becomes increasingly urgent

Automation has gained popularity for enabling advertisers to remove steps from their processes that may have traditionally been handled manually, freeing up valuable time for advertisers to focus attention elsewhere. However, 73% of respondents noted their social media advertising creation and delivery processes still involve time-consuming manual processes. This is consistent with last year’s sentiment in which 72% said the same thing. These manual processes span from strategy formation to content creation to posting, managing and aligning content to specific campaigns.

Compounding this issue, 69% of respondents said they are not currently using automation technology for social media advertising creation. While it is a drop from last year (81%), there is still a large opportunity to bring effective automation to the social media creation process as only 17% of those who are using automation technology say they are using it successfully.

In 2022, advertisers also plan to:

• Use more creative automation (31% – up from 13% last year)
• Expand their in-house marketing teams to better manage social media advertising (29%)
• Outsource social media advertising more (29%)
• Invest more in social media advertising tools & tech (26%)

To read more about this research and learn how to better prepare your organization in 2022 as consumer behaviors continue to evolve, download the complete Smartly.io research report.