Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience platform, released its “State of Social Media and CX” report for Q3 2021, offering key insights on social media ad results, organic social media brand efforts, and CX trends. According to Emplifi’s most recent data, global ad spend on Facebook and Instagram grew 43.4% year-over-year during the third quarter of 2021, fueled by a 10.5% growth between Q2 and Q3. As ad spend increased, advertising costs also continued to climb with Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs) reaching their highest level since late 2020.
Facebook ad investments represent a clear sign of the times, with ad spend connected to the accommodation industry experiencing 94% growth year-over-year as countries reopen their borders and travel resumes across the globe.
Meanwhile, advertisers’ Click-Through-Rates (CTRs) have remained stable with only slight fluctuations since this time last year. Emplifi’s data shows Facebook ad reach took a notable turn in the right direction, climbing 3.7% year-over-year — a slight increase, but a stark contrast to the 12.4% drop reported last quarter.
Emplifi’s report includes both paid and organic social media data findings, covering CPC, CTR, and distribution of ad spend by placement. Trends are broken down by geographic regions and across industries. The report looks at brand engagement based on hashtags, post types, influencer marketing numbers, as well as brand response times on Facebook.
One of the most interesting findings on the organic side of social media trends shows Facebook Instream Live Videos by brands generated three times more engagement with fans and followers compared to other types of posts.
“While it’s true brands are having to invest more of their advertising dollars to reach consumers across social media platforms, there are still massive opportunities for B2C advertisers when it comes to using Live video within their social media marketing and social commerce initiatives,” said Emplifi CMO Zarnaz Arlia. “Live video experiences on Facebook and Instagram are giving advertisers a new and fresh way to connect with their primary audiences, offering real-time conversation capabilities that drive measurable eCommerce gains. Unfortunately, many brands in the U.S. have not fully embraced social video tactics, leaving much room for improvement in this area.”
Emplifi’s data shows that Facebook Instream Video and Facebook News Feed rank as the top ad placements in CTR for both Facebook and Instagram ads, a notable data point for any brand looking to increase their social commerce efforts. For the brands that do go Live on Facebook, those in the beauty, gambling, and eCommerce industry are generating the highest number of comments and interactions compared to other industries.
Based on industry reports, social commerce is becoming more of a priority for brands in the U.S. eMarketer predicts the U.S. social commerce market will reach $36 billion by the end of this year, with that number likely doubling by 2025. Facebook and Instagram rank as the top social commerce platforms: eMarketer expects 22.3% of U.S. consumers will purchase, at least, one item on Facebook sometime this year.
A 2021 Ipsos study confirmed 65% of U.S. consumers report they have either bought a product directly on a social media platform or have discovered products through their social media channels.
“Consumers want a seamless shopping experience, from product discovery through purchase. Social commerce enables brands to sell their products directly in an app where the consumer is already shopping. The brands that understand the value in meeting customers where they are -- on social platforms -- will gain a significant competitive edge in the coming months,” said Arlia. “This is especially true for the brands that enable features like Live video to create more impactful experiences, and integrate sophisticated CX tools to elevate and enhance the customer journey.”
Overall, Emplifi found that organic social media engagement patterns are shifting, as consumers turn to social platforms more frequently for customer support. As a result, brands are speeding up their response times to customer service inquiries coming in via social platforms. Emplifi’s data shows multiple industries improved their response times on Facebook during Q3 -- a definitive move forward as more consumers rely on their social media accounts for customer care.
Report Methodology: Emplifi’s State of Social Media and CX report looks at trends in Q3 and uses data downloaded at the beginning of October. The complete report can be downloaded here.