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Social Media Ad Spend Bounces Back in Q2 After Initial Pandemic Downturn, Reports Socialbakers


Video formats surge as brands seek engagement with audiences stuck at home during COVID-19 outbreak according to new Q2 2020 Social Media Trends Report

New York, July 21, 2020 Socialbakers, the leading unified social media marketing platform, today released a comprehensive report on Social Media Trends for Q2 2020. The report reveals the latest online marketing trends and paid advertising changes as brands around the world adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key insights from Socialbakers’ Q2 data include a return toward pre-pandemic levels in areas such as advertising budgets, cost-per-click (CPC) for paid ads, and the amount of time Facebook users spend online. One significant development is an increase in the use of organic video content on social media platforms, which offers marketers a high engagement rate with an audience that is working remotely or otherwise locked down at home during the pandemic.

“Q2 was a dynamic quarter from a marketing perspective. We saw paid advertising bounce back and CPC increase as businesses started to return to normal across most regions and industries. We saw a dip in ad spend in early June, most notably in the US, which corresponds to #BlackoutTuesday. However, ad spend returned to normal almost immediately. There was another dip in ad spend at the end of June, which was likely related to the ad boycotts that could also affect figures in Q3 2020.”

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO, Socialbakers

Ad spend rises, moves toward pre-pandemic levels

Around the world, social media ad spend increased significantly in Q2 2020. Globally, brands spent 26% more on advertising during Q2 compared to the end of Q1, when budgets were still very much impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Every industry analyzed by Socialbakers showed an increase in ad spend over the last three months. However, there were instances when ad spend temporarily declined, likely due to the online social movements #BlackoutTuesday and the Facebook ad boycott organized by civil rights and activist groups. The impact of the Facebook ad boycott hit hardest in North America, where spend decreased by 31.6% in the final two weeks of Q2. Because that boycott is expected to last at least through July, ad spend likely will continue to decline early in Q3.

Cost-per-click rises worldwide, but still lag year-over-year

Worldwide, the average cost-per-click for online paid ads increased by 55.3% in Q2 2020, after reaching its highest point in early March before the pandemic really hit. The most dramatic increase took place in South Europe, where CPC rose by 94%. Across all brand accounts, CPC rose by 42.7% in Q2 to $0.107. However, in the main feeds CPC still shows a decline year over year, meaning the opportunity still exists for brands that have the budget to make their message reach a wider audience than it normally would. 

Facebook users return to pre-pandemic online activity

Socialbakers’ data also indicates that as communities around the world came out of quarantine, the time they spent online largely returned to pre-pandemic levels. Relative Facebook interactions dropped from 100% to 50.8% in Q2, before increasing again at the end of the quarter. This decrease was mostly a return to a normal level after an abnormal spike in mid-March.

Instagram dominates in audience size, interactions

Instagram continued its rise in Q2, as the platform expanded its audience and nearly reached its peak for interactions at the end of the quarter. The audience size of Instagram’s top 50 biggest brands profiles is now 31% larger than on Facebook. Engagement also remained significantly stronger on Instagram, with 18.7x more interactions than Facebook, even though 70.7% of all brand posts appeared on Facebook.

Video content grows, shows great potential

Amidst the backdrop of the pandemic in March 2020, video content began to surge on social media platforms. Twitter, with over 20% of tweets from brand pages, has the highest percentage of video content on social media platforms, compared to Facebook and Instagram. On Instagram, video content accounted for 17.1% of all posts in Q2 2020, an increase of 16.3% compared to Q2 2019. Facebook saw a 5.3% rise in video compared to the same period last year, with video comprising 18% of the content on that platform. In addition, the use of Facebook Live increased by 27% compared to Q2 2019, and by 126% over the last four months. Facebook Live was by far the most engaging format on the platform in Q2.

“Video is a great way to drive organic engagement as marketers attempt to reach audiences who are largely stuck at home. Because of its consistently high engagement levels, we predict that many brands will continue to leverage Facebook Live and live video overall going into Q3 and Q4. The message is clear. Brands that aren’t investing in live video are leaving engagement on the table.”

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO, Socialbakers

The Socialbakers’ Social Media Trends Report Q2 2020 is now available for download at no cost.


About Socialbakers

Socialbakers is the trusted social media management partner to thousands of enterprise brands and SMBs. Leveraging the largest social media data-set in the industry, Socialbakers’ AI-powered social media marketing suite helps brands large and small ensure their investment in social media is delivering measurable business outcomes.

With over 2,500 clients across 100 countries, Socialbakers is the leading social media management platform, tracking 10 million social profiles across all major social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and VK.com. Socialbakers has been a Facebook Marketing Partner since 2011, a Pinterest Marketing Partner since 2017 and a LinkedIn Marketing Partner since 2017.

For more information, visit www.socialbakers.com.


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