Why It’s Time to Invest (Smartly) on Social

Power Retail By Power Retail | 04 Nov 2020

Majority of respondents in Asia Pacific are more open to engaging with social ads post-Covid, per a survey by Smartly.io.

The social landscape is as buoyant as ever, according to Smartly.io’s report on ‘The Evolution of Social Advertising in 2020’. Surveying over 2000 consumers globally from August to September 2020, this is the second iteration of the survey and report – the first was conducted in May 2020. 

CPM is back to pre-COVID level

CPM rates have climbed back and even above pre-COVID levels after experiencing declines earlier in the year. 

In the early days of COVID when marketing budgets plunged and brands pulled back ads, those who were still advertising on social – including apps, e-commerce and e-entertainment platforms – saw their ad efficiency skyrocket, with CPA becoming much lower than before. 

Yet, as consumers adjusted to the ‘new normal’ and ad spends went back to normal levels, social CPM have jumped to higher levels than pre-COVID days. 

The rising spend on social has no doubt been accelerated by general budget shifts from offline to digital platforms and the upcoming peak holiday season. 

What about social engagement levels? 

Consumer engagement levels have generally been high in 2020, though it has slipped somewhat from May to August as lockdown restrictions were lifted in many cities around the world. 

Majority of respondents in Asia Pacific are more open to engaging with social ads post-COVID, per a survey by Smartly.io. When asked whether the pandemic has made them more open to engaging with social ads, 25 percent of Australian respondents answer in the positive, compared to 39 percent in April. The intention to buy from social ads presents a similar picture. Australian consumers reported that number at 25 percent for August, down from 38 percent in April.

Given that the intention to buy from social media ads is still high, marketers have excellent opportunities to reach consumers where they are – on social. 

Some categories, for example, are generating more interest from social ads than others in Australia – 28 percent say they intend to buy from fashion social ads in the next 30 days, compared to 22 percent who would buy electronics, and 19 percent who would buy furniture or home products online.

What kind of e-commerce ads speak to consumers? Almost half, 45 percent say they turn to social ads for price offers and sales items, while 22 percent say relevant and seasonal products.

Download Smartly.io’s report to find out what consumers are buying 

How are consumers engaging with social media?

Most of the respondents (61 percent) are using social media to connect with friends and family – and it stands to reason that Facebook, with its strong messaging tools, has seen a surge in popularity, with 45 percent globally selecting it as their top platform. 

Consumers are also turning to social media for practical advice during this period of turmoil. According to the survey, 23 percent consumers are relying on social media for safety advice, 23 percent want social ads to inform them about stay-at-home products, while 33 percent are looking at brands to use social ads for good. 

The above makes clear that advertisers can no longer rely on just one option, they need to have solutions planned for different scenarios – whether it is a lifting of travel restrictions, or a country going back into lockdown after a spike in COVID cases. 

Tailored messaging is key 

As they say, the worst social marketers can do during uncertain periods is to go dark. From more personal reasons – “I use it to connect with friends and family” – to more practical ones, social media is a powerful medium at a time when face-to-face interaction is discouraged.

In the face of ever-evolving needs across APAC, personalisation is as much an imperative as a tactic. Marketers not only need to seek the right content and format, but to ensure that the process is sufficiently agile to respond to ever-changing consumer needs. Automation becomes key. Not only does it allow marketers to scale up production within relatively short spans of time, it also frees up time for more valuable, creative work – and gives them more time for the things they love. For more insights, download Smartly.io’s report, The Evolution of Social Advertising in 2020.

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