How Social Media Advertising Has Adjusted to New Phase of Coronavirus

How Social Media Advertising Has Adjusted to New Phase of Coronavirus

See the full Social Media Trends Report: The Effects of COVID-19 on Marketing.

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The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped daily life over the last couple of months. However, as regions have moved past their peak and hospitals have started to get things under control, there has been a slow return to normalcy in certain areas.

In the world of social media marketing, this first showed up in East Asia, which faced the coronavirus sooner than most regions and, as a result, started to move past it and see an increase in metrics like ad spend and cost per click in March.

According to Socialbakers data, the same thing has now happened in many other regions and industries. In fact, many industries have returned close to their typical level of spending for the season, while social media platforms, which have done a lot to help during the pandemic, reported positive results in their Q1 earnings reports.

Industry Social Media Ad Spend Jumps 30.9%

Social media ad spend rebounded significantly through the first four weeks of April, as the worldwide average for all industries increased by 30.9% compared to the end of March.

Industries leading the way included Beverages (51%), Beauty (43.6%), and Accommodation (43%).

The large increase in Accommodation could indicate that that segment of the travel industry, which overall has been impacted more than most, is feeling optimistic about routines slowly returning to normal.

Of the 17 industries that Socialbakers analyzed, all but one increased ad spend by double digits during the first four weeks of April. The lone exception was Services, which increased by 8.7%. Services is a category that includes housing, transportation, event planners, and lawyers, among other things.

Broadly speaking, the confidence in digital marketing and the uptrend in spending has now brought the majority of industries back to their pre-pandemic ad spend levels. The increase in ad spend is a clear sign that brands across the globe are eager to resume business as usual as quickly as possible.

Ad Spend by industry during coronavirus
Ad Spend by industry during coronavirus

Industry Cost per Click Increases 18.9%

Similar to the ad spend figures, cost per click saw an industry-wide increase of 18.9% over the first four weeks of April compared to where it had been amid the pandemic at the end of March.

Industries that saw the biggest increases included Auto (35.1%), Accommodation (up 33.3%), and Ecommerce (26.2%). Industries at the other end of the spectrum included Household Goods, which remained the same, and Beauty, which increased by 7.4%.

The opportunity to monetize on the previously low costs hasn’t yet evaporated and marketers do still get more return from their investment. Overall, the most recent average industry CPC ($0.088) is still less costly than it had been near the end of February ($0.130) and January ($0.119), and it’s half of what it had been at the end of November 2019 ($0.175).

CPC by industry during coronavirus
CPC by industry during coronavirus

CPM for Industries Goes Up 15%

Led by Beauty (28.9%) and Retail (25.8%), the cost per thousand impressions increased by an average of 15% over all industries for the first four weeks of April compared to the end of March.

Other industries that saw an above-average increase included Fashion (18.9%), Beverages (18.7%) and Ecommerce (17.1%).

On the other hand, Alcohol decreased by 16.7% and Accommodation remained the same.

CPM by industry during coronavirus
CPM by industry during coronavirus

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Industry CTR Remains Steady

Of course, the ultimate question is if the ads are still as effective as they were before. The short answer is yes, and for some industries it has actually improved.

The average click-through rate for all industries was essentially the same during the first four weeks of April, going down just 0.4% compared to where it was at the end of March. There had been a 9.4% increase amid the pandemic in mid-February, but the overall average CTR has settled at about 1.02% during April.

However, some industries did see big increases during April, including Beauty (up 26%) and Fashion (up 12.5%). Meanwhile, the CTR for Accommodation brands decreased by 19.7% during April.

CTR by industry during coronavirus
CTR by industry during coronavirus

The Growth in Digital Is Felt Across Regions

In the first three weeks of April, the average worldwide ad spend increased by 32.3% and worldwide Facebook CPC increased by 10%.

Looking at some specific regions, ad spend increased by 47.3% in Northern America, 41.6% in Latin America, and 35.7% in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Facebook CPC increased by 20.6% in Western Europe and 16.2% in Southern Europe.

Based on the timeline of East Asia’s social media paid advertising figures returning to their pre-pandemic levels, the data suggested other regions would similarly bounce back once they got the coronavirus under control. While it’s far too early to say that COVID-19 is behind us, it’s been largely contained in many areas and worldwide there’s a confidence that things will return to something close to normal.

Social Media Ad Spend by Region during COVID-19
Facebook CPC by Region

The Takeaway

Just two months ago, business as usual strategies suddenly stopped, along with a large portion of ad spending. This was to be expected, but digital marketing has once again shown its resilience.

During this crisis, more brands have fully adjusted to a digital environment, and their customers have done likewise. We can be confident that these improved metrics will continue on a positive trajectory, and overall digital marketers have done a good job weathering the storm.

Additionally, CPC costs are still relatively low, which means there’s still an opportunity for savvy marketers to gain an increased reach at a lower cost. And for more insights, you can explore the impact of COVID-19 on social media marketing.

Content Marketing Specialist

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