POV: 2017 Q4 Paid Social Trends Report

As paid social continues to evolve, so does the strategy for using it. This channel has become an integral part of the media plan for all of our clients, supporting objectives from awareness all the way to conversion. Platforms are responding to advertisers’ more sophisticated use of the channel by offering new features and functionality that drive better performance.

To give marketers the insights they need to make the most of this versatile channel, iProspect today released the latest edition of the Quarterly Paid Social Trends Report. This quarter’s report analyzes Q4 data from more than 210 brands advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snap, Inc. (all of which are managed by iProspect U.S., though spend is not confined to just U.S. markets).

Selected key insights from the Q4 2017 report include:

  • Strategic use of features drives performance. The brands that saw the strongest Q4 business performance were the ones that leveraged the Facebook pixel, optimized toward site engagement or reach , took advantage of Facebook Dynamic Broad Audiences (DABA), and planned content designed for the feed.
  • Spend is up. Despite expected seasonal activity, Q4 spend increases were still substantial: up 72% quarter over quarter (QoQ) and 86% year over year (YoY).
  • Advancements drive spend. Even accounting for additional spend from new iProspect clients, we still saw an average Q4 QoQ increase of 42%. This was driven by increased holiday spend and advancements in the paid social space, which continue to improve performance in the areas of direct-response, awareness and brand lift, as well as prospecting and new customer acquisition.
  • Costs and performance both on the rise. While CPM rose (up 34% QoQ and 32% YoY), the costs are still incredibly efficient and any increase is offset by improvements in performance.
  • Substantial updates support paid social business value. There were more than 400 platform updates in 2017–spanning all phases of the consumer journey and ultimately helped to show the true value of full-funnel paid social by driving performance against objectives from awareness and brand lift to consideration, intent, and purchase, not to mention new customer acquisition.
    • Facebook, Twitter, and Snap entered into the exclusive content space.
    • Pinterest launched Lens, search ads, promoted app ads, and the Taste Graph.
    • Instagram added polls to organic content, introduced ads to Stories, and expanded Canvas and Collections.
    • Facebook’s Messenger introduced ads.
    • Snap added deep-linking, office sales targeting, and true self-serve capability.
  • Facebook delivers incredibly strong conversion. Facebook conversion was 9.1%, up from 4.71% in Q3, and from 8.4% in Q4 of 2016, continuing to prove it’s direct-response value.
  • New prospecting capabilities further drive performance. Facebook’s Dynamic Broad Audiences (DABA) drove new site visitors, fueling cross-channel retargeting efforts while simultaneously delivering incredibly strong ROAS. This further exemplifies paid social’s ability to drive new customer acquisition and fuel all digital channels.

Download the full report for all the details about these trends and the corresponding brand opportunities.