Paid social media soars 22% in fourth quarter, report says


DUBAI: According to a report by customer experience platform Emplifi, social media advertising spend in the Middle East increased by 22% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to any time last year.

The sharp increase in spending compares to a 25% increase globally, the platform said in its analysis of social media data for the fourth quarter of last year.

The increase in advertising spend during the holiday season shows the willingness of brands to invest in social media advertising during the end of the year period.

“Despite the introduction of Meta and the future of the Metaverse, Facebook will continue to be a leading platform for ad spend,” said Danielly Netto, Emplifi’s solutions marketing director and product evangelist, at Arab News.

In the last quarter of 2021, click-through rates remained stable globally, but the cost per click increased, meaning marketers had to pay more for this audience.

In terms of organic social media, Facebook Live Video performed best with 38 median post interactions, 31 more interactions than any other post type. On Instagram, Carousels and Instagram TV performed well, both with 63 median post interactions.

As Facebook continues to lose younger users, it’s no surprise that Instagram posts garnered higher engagement globally than Facebook posts throughout Q4 2021.

“Consumers today spend most of their time on social media – it’s where they want to interact with brands and they have high expectations for responsiveness,” Netto said.

Aggregate data from Emplifi shows that the time taken by brands to respond to users is slowly increasing on Facebook (one hour) and Instagram (2.6 hours). In contrast, time spent on Twitter has decreased by one hour since the fourth quarter of 2020.

In the Middle East, the median response time on Twitter to direct messages from users and questions in comments is less than two hours.

Netto said that as brands recognize the benefits of leveraging AI-powered chatbots to answer frequently asked questions, “we expect that over time there will be a increase in response rate and response time”.

The pandemic has led to a digital approach for brands.

Netto said that according to a recent study of 10 markets in the region, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, 40% of respondents are shopping online more than before the coronavirus outbreak, and 69% in the Kingdom said they would maintain their current shopping habits post-pandemic.

“As a natural response to increased online activity and people staying home, brands have increasingly turned to social media ad spend as a tool to drive sales,” she said.

“Dating back to 2019, just over a quarter of the total advertising budget of brands in the MENA region went to social media channels. Fast forward to 2021, and researchers predict that social media will attract almost a third of total overall advertising spending in the MENA region by the end of the year. »

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