Social media is an increasingly important part of the cross-channel customer experience, but the challenges lie in how brands maximise social engagement in order to deliver real value for both consumer and brands, according to the latest “Best of the Best” report from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), released this week.
U.K. businesses lead the rest of Europe when it comes to using social media to drive traffic to their website, with an average 4.6% of traffic being driven from sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as newer entrants such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. The U.K. not only outperforms the rest of Europe, but also the U.S. (3.7%). However, businesses in France (0.69%) and Germany (0.54%) are failing to derive value from the social channels when it comes to driving traffic.
Which Social Platforms Drive Engagement?
Facebook continues to be the top performing social platform for consumer brand engagement. Of the 89% of respondents who use the platform, 90% rank it as their first choice when it comes to following and interacting with brands. And Instagram (59%) has surpassed Twitter (53%) as a place that consumers look to connect with their favourite brands. Other emerging visual social platforms such as Pinterest (42%) and Snapchat (35%) are also proving effective at delivering engagement with brands.
Although Facebook (86%) is still the most likely social media platform to be used by 18- to 24-year-olds, the same age group also registers strong use of Instagram (55%) and Snapchat (53%). These sites provide a fun way to share your life with your friends through images, and are increasingly used by Millennials to interact with brands. In fact, 72% of Millennial Instagram users are using the app to follow their favourite brands.
Reinforcing the ADI findings, brands in the U.K. have recently been using Snapchat to target younger Millennials. These brands include Domino’s Pizza, Pepsi, Burberry, and Adidas. With only 36% of Europeans currently turning to the platform to follow the brands they like, it offers plenty of potential for the right brands to create intimate brand experiences at scale.
Which Industries Are Capitalising On Social Success?
Europe’s top performing brands all have a significant presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, some sectors, including retail, travel & hospitality, and media & entertainment, are increasingly utilising Instagram, Pinterest, and the live video streaming app Periscope, although less so than their U.S. counterparts.
The media and entertainment sector is the clear winner when it comes to driving traffic from their social media activity, with an average of 7.6% of the visits coming to their websites from social, compared to 1% or less in other sectors such as retail, automotive, and travel.
Media and entertainment businesses, alongside the automotive industry, have the largest followings on social media, outperforming the average social following for other business verticals by almost two times. The attraction of luxury European car brands such as Aston Martin—which has over 6.6 million Facebook followers but only sells around 4,000 cars a year—highlights why the sector is such a strong performer in the social space.
Retailers, travel companies, and media & entertainment businesses are the most active verticals when it comes to authoring content for their social media sites, while retail businesses engage with their audiences the most – averaging over 6,000 engagements with consumers in their social lifetime.
What Drives Engagement In The Social Space?
ADI’s survey of over 5,000 European consumers shows that music, entertainment, and news sites are the top social performers in Europe, especially amongst 18 to 24-year-olds. Women are more engaged with beauty, fashion, and retail brands, while their male counterparts are more likely to follow sports, car, and technology brands.
The most successful content type for consumers across Europe is breaking news (32%), especially among Millennials. Consumers are also interested in hearing about brands’ latest offers and deals (18%), while product news (12%) and reviews (11%) seem to be of limited interest to consumers.
While consumers may be following brands via social media, the ADI research shows that less than half (45%) of EMEA consumers believe that social media channels are getting better at providing relevant content and ads, only 7% of consumers find social media advertising engaging.
“Social media is one of the many channels that companies are investing in to communicate with their consumer,” said Becky Tasker, managing analyst at ADI. “Unfortunately, we’re still seeing some disparities and disengagement from the consumer. Companies should be pushing forward on the personalisation and relevancy front in order to ensure the best possible outcome for both.”
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
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