Paid social is becoming a crowded space, with 97% of marketers reportedly dedicating money to advertising through social media. Between the growing audiences of these platforms, and the rising cost of similar ads in search, ad spends across social make far more sense to the budget-conscious and the efficiency-obsessed. To that end, Hanapin Marketing takes time every year to assess the state of the paid social marketing landscape, and this week they shared their latest learnings with the world.
Where is most of the crowd congregating? To the surprise of no one: Facebook, who has garnered the attention of 91% of the surveyed population. Brand managers and agency reps aside have grown to depend on it for reliable reach and sophisticated analytics. But in a number of ways, new platforms are rising to rival its dominance…especially as 26% of marketers reported they plan to spend less on the platform throughout 2019.
Who stands to benefit from this shift in spending? Depending on your area of comfort with content creation, the age and engagement of your audience, or your “why” for advertising on social, the following spaces could be yours in which to shine.
The Video Villages: YouTube and Instagram
“We are becoming conditioned to favor video as a means of communication,” Hanapin reported in their study, “and it is unsurprising that social media consumption would reflect that behavior.” Moreover, it is unsurprising that platforms who are friendly to video – both algorithmically and in terms of features – will rise quickly as this conditioning takes root. As such, Instagram and YouTube were the two platforms Hanapin found that have the biggest chance of rivaling Facebook.
On each platform, highly dynamic ad formats were found to be both incredibly popular and highly effective. For YouTube, pre-roll (skippable) ads are far and away the most frequently used format; even when skipped, they do play a role in consumer decisions. And for Instagram, compelling Story Ads have fast become the most effective form. Not only has each become more hospitable to how we regularly consume content, but the interfaces that allow us to craft and place ads have grown in sophistication—making our time and energy in these spaces ever more worthwhile.
The Comeback Kids: LinkedIn and Snapchat
LinkedIn and Snapchat are working hard to reclaim their onetime glory not just by improving the offerings on their sites for users, but also growing and improving the ad experience for marketers. And while these ads don’t necessarily do the blockbuster numbers that the top three platforms get, you can get results in a highly specific market if you use these spaces wisely.
Hanapin cites LinkedIn as the platform that currently “pays [most] attention to the needs and priorities of their advertisers.” For the site, a recent overhaul of their Campaign Manager has allowed for highly specific ad targeting. And as more users flock to the platform to take advantage of their live video, document sharing, and educational offerings, those seeking to reach a business-minded client will do well in the space. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s burst of new features and partnerships make it a highly attractive option for those seeking to reach a younger audience. 71% of users are under 24, and 45% are 18-24. This means that spending your time in this once-again booming ecosystem means crafting ads that appeal to that age group: compelling, captivating, and befitting of the space Snap has cultivated there. As with LinkedIn, the clientele is considerably more specific; your approach there should adapt accordingly.
The Dark Horses: Quora and Reddit
“Quora was predicted in last year’s report to be an up and coming platform for advertising,” Hanapin shared in this year’s report, “and it sure has proven itself.” While numbers are still small for paid social, investment in ads on the question-and-answer based platform has quadrupled in 2019. Much of this can be attributed to the attention Quora itself has given to advertising; they’ve released 5 beta programs to target and place ads, and stand to release several more before year’s end. You’d be wise to explore the platform before it too gets crowded; 27% of marketers want to up their spend there (compared to 9% the year before).
For the fringe treatment that Reddit often gets, Hanapin rightfully points out the highly engaged and authentic nature of its users, additionally sharing that its average use and engagement outpaces other outlets we look to more readily for advertisement—including Twitter, Pinterest, and the aforementioned Snapchat and Pinterest. As with Quora, their ad targeting, reporting, and campaign management tools are continuing to evolve, likely to anticipate more advertisers wanting to be there. For brand managers and agencies hoping to help clients stand apart, this pair of rising platforms could be worth your time, energy…and ad dollars.
The full report is worth a read for all marketers, whether you’re actively looking to reconsider your paid social approach, or if something in this rundown caught your eye. How will you let Hanapin’s insight frame the future of paid social for your organization?
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