POV: 2018 Q2 Paid Social Trends Report

Coming off a strong first quarter, paid social continues to prove its worth in Q2 of 2018. As more brands get on board with comprehensive social strategies that make more expansive use of the various platforms, the channel is evolving to meet demand and deliver ever-stronger performance and efficiency. Performance drives spend, which in turn drives platforms to release additional tools and capabilities. The momentum is undeniable.

To make sure marketers have all the information they need to make the most of their paid social campaigns, iProspect today released the latest edition of the Quarterly Paid Social Trends Report. This quarter’s report analyzes data from more than 210 brands advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, 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 Q2 2018 report include:

  • Platforms continue to release updates, including important changes to privacy regulations. Q2 2018 activity included 72 noteworthy updates encompassing both ad advancements and new capabilities. Perhaps most important were the privacy and transparency changes driven by recent security breaches and the EU’s implementation of GDPR.

    Highlights include:

    • Instagram’s IGTV
    • Facebook’s ‘Creator Match Tool’
    • Snapchat’s Conversion Optimization
    • LinkedIn’s Carousel ad format
  • Paid social spend is up across the board. Overall, spend was up 40% year over year (YoY) and 21% quarter over quarter (QoQ). Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn led the pack with 54%, 142%, and 167% YoY spend increases respectively. Twitter was down YoY, but recovering with a 32% QoQ increase. Pinterest is up a moderate 17% YoY.

  • CPM is up, but performance is strong. Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) increased 47% YoY and 19% QoQ and campaigns with reach objectives averaging a $4.79 CPM. All of this reflects strong performance in comparison with the costs of reach-driving tactics on other platforms and publishers.

  • Video spend still substantial, but static. Q2 video investment made up 53% of total spend across Facebook, Inc., remaining static QoQ. However, the overall increase in Facebook spend included modest increases in video investment, which was up 4% YoY and 5% QoQ.

  • CPC down YoY, but up QoQ while CTR climbs. Average CPC increased to $.58 (up from $.43 in Q1 2018) but was down 22% YoY from $.74 in Q2 2017. CTR increased 80% YoY. Still, investment in traffic-driving campaigns increased 4% YoY and 9% QoQ, showing that advertisers continue to find value in the qualified traffic driven by Facebook, Inc. campaigns.

  • Conversion rate is up. Q2 saw a 7.91% conversion rate, up 6% QoQ and 37% YoY. The YoY increase can largely be attributed to a 60% YoY increase in spend on conversion-objective campaigns as advertisers continue to see the value of direct response-focused campaigns on Facebook, Inc.

Download the full report for more details about how the paid social landscape is evolving and where you can find the best opportunities for your brand.