Social media is jumping into real time in a big-time way, according to Adobe Digital Index’s (ADI) new “Q1 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report,” which finds consumers are increasingly live-streaming video via social networks.
Indeed, competition is keen, with strong adoption of apps that enable live streaming since the beginning of 2015, said ADI analyst Joe Martin.
Meerkat, for example—the app that made a big splash at SXSW in March by enabling users to tweet live video—is averaging the most social usage since March 1. A similar technology, Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter at the beginning of 2015, has the highest daily average over the past 14 days.
“For marketers who are trying to keep the pulse on new platforms and opportunities, live streaming might be something to keep an eye on. Meerkat and Periscope are two newbies worth watching,” Martin told CMO.com.
ADI’s analysis is based on consumer data to brand sites during 2014 and 2015, 490 billion Facebook post impressions, 525 billion Google and Yahoo! Bing ad impressions, and 2 million social streaming app mentions.
According to ADI’s analysis, brands continued to post more frequently in the second quarter to get as many eyeballs as possible looking at their organic content. Overall brand posting is up 31% year over year (YoY), but down slightly quarter-over quarter (QoQ).
Organic, or free, impressions continue to decline (down 35% YoY) with every algorithm tweak that Facebook makes, while paid impressions are on the rise (up 8% YoY)—further evidence of Facebook’s successful monetization strategy.
It seems that Facebook’s most recent algorithm changes aren’t faring so well for marketers, with overall post interaction rates down a bit in Q1 across industries, according to ADI. Currently, retailers hold the top slot for Facebook interaction rates.
Additionally, Facebook’s recent focus on boosting interaction rates on link posts—via an algorithm change in Q3 2014—has proved successful. Video, image, and text posts have all experienced interaction rate declines in Q1, while link post interaction rates are up.
“These results show just how much control Facebook has on its platform in terms of content that performs well and content that does not,” Martin said. “Marketers who want to be successful on the platform need to be nimble in switching their strategies with every algorithm update.”
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Matt Roberts, another analyst at ADI, said that marketers all over the world are spending more (5%) on SEM. The Asia-Pacific region’s spend has seen the fastest growth, up 34%.
Spend on Google slightly decreased YoY in global terms, but was up 16% in APAC. That’s not surprising since YoY spend increased across the board for Yahoo! Bing, with the most growth coming out of EMEA.
“Marketers worldwide are moving more of their dollars to fully optimize SEM services from Yahoo! Bing,” Roberts said. “But it is important to note that Google still holds the vast majority of spend in SEM.”
As the Web continues to move from text-heavy to image-based, it’s no wonder that shopping ad spend is up QoQ, with marketers in the retail sector spending 37% more YoY on Google shopping ads.
ADI has also found that optimizing click-through-rates (CTR) is dependent on search-engine spend allocation; it is also industry-specific. For example, top performers in both travel and media and entertainment allocate twice their SEM spend to Yahoo! Bing as compared with their peers in other industries. Meantime, top performers in the auto industry heavily favor Google for their SEM needs.
Furthermore, Roberts said, optimization on Yahoo! Bing is catching up to Google. “As content becomes more engaging and marketers employ better developed programmatic buying techniques, CTRs continue to rise,” he said.
With more money spent, global CTRs are on the rise, as well, across all device types. That said, cost-per-click is up YoY but down QoQ. ADI also found that smartphone CPC growth outpaces CTR optimization growth.
According to Roberts, overall CPC on smartphones still lags CPC on tablets and desktops. CPC on desktops is 41% higher than smartphones, and tablets CPC is 35% higher than smartphones.
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About Adobe Digital Index
Adobe Digital Index 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 over 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.