Staff Writer
Oct 16, 2020

Why it’s time to invest (smartly) on social

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

Why it’s time to invest (smartly) on social
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The social landscape is as buoyant as ever, according to Smartly.io’s ‘The Evolution of Social Advertising in 2020’ report , which surveyed 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. 

When asked whether the pandemic has made them more open to engaging with social ads, 45% of Indian respondents answer in the positive, compared to 92% in April. In Japan, 33% say they’re more open, compared to 46% in April. In Singapore, that drop is less significant - from 62% to 56%. 

The intention to buy from social ads presents a similar picture.  Both Singapore and Japan reported that number at 61% for August, down from 71% and 66% respectively in April. India is an outlier in this instance, with 78% saying they have bought from a social ad in August, compared to 73% in April.

Given that the intention to buy is still high, marketers will do well to understand where customers are spending. 

Some categories, for example, are generating more interest from social ads in certain regions than others. 

In India, 63% say they have intention to buy from fashion social ads in the next 30 days, significantly higher than Singapore’s 50% and the 42% global average.  

Asia is also looking bright for F&B and FMCG brands looking to invest in social. Around two-thirds in Singapore, India and Japan are open to making grocery purchases through social ads in the next 30 days, higher than in the UK (59%) or Italy (26%). As for the kind of grocery ads that speak to consumers? 45% say they turn to social ads for price offers and sales items, while 25% say safety information. 

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

How are consumers engaging with social media? 

More people as ever (61%) 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% 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% consumers are relying on social media for safety advice, 23% want social ads to inform them about stay-at-home products, while 33% 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 The Evolution of Social Advertising in 2020 report.

 

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