Emplifi, a leading unified customer experience platform, released its “State of Social Media and CX” report, highlighting key data points for social media ad spend by industry and region, organic post-performance, influencer marketing, and CX trends for Q2 2021. Emplifi’s data shows global ad spend on Facebook and Instagram increased 50% year-over-year during Q2, while Facebook ad reach dropped 12.4% globally. The report also examines Instagram TV (IGTV) performance rates, finding that IGTV videos performed nearly as well as photo-based posts and delivered higher engagement rates than standard video posts on Instagram.
According to Emplifi’s 2021 Middle East report for Q2, most of the relative ad spend by brands went to Facebook feeds (53.4%), followed by Instagram feeds (17.7%), and Instagram Stories (11%). The data also reveals that within the Middle East, the retail category dominated the number of interactions of brand pages on Facebook (23%), followed by telecom (16.7%) and airlines (13.5%). Retail brand pages also secured the highest number of interactions on Instagram (22.9%), closely followed by e-commerce (21.4%).
“The ongoing increase in social media ad spend is proving to be more than just a pandemic-related ‘bounce-back’ scenario. More and more brands are relying on social media marketing to engage with their audiences meaningfully and at scale,” said Zarnaz Arlia, Chief Marketing Officer, Emplifi. “Social commerce and the formats which support it are also becoming more prevalent as the year goes on. As more brands recognize the value of live streaming and start to leverage more live content to cater to users at different stages of the customer journey.”
Emplifi’s report also includes influencer marketing trends. While an upward trend in influencer activity was seen both globally and in the Middle East in the second half of 2020 – signifying a recovery after the number of sponsored posts dropped dramatically during the beginning of the pandemic – activity has plateaued in the first half of 2021. This drop potentially signifies the end of the recovery period and stabilization of influencer marketing spend.
“As more and more consumers begin to expect a brand’s social media channels to facilitate outstanding customer experiences across many stages of the customer journey, the importance of engagement and interaction data is taking on a greater significance. What we’re seeing is that an engaging and responsive social media presence is no longer just a “nice-to-have” for consumer-facing brands, it’s a key point of differentiation,” said Arlia.
Another important takeaway from the report is that social media users are engaging far more with live video than traditional content. In fact, Facebook Live videos – a trend observed both globally and in the Middle East – earned the highest number of organic post interactions and delivered three times the engagement rates of standard videos, but account for less than 1% of branded posts.
“A strong and engaging social media presence will increasingly impact how brands operate and how well they perform, particularly in the Middle East, with its young, tech-savvy population who leverage social media for everything from shopping to socializing. As the growth of social commerce continues to rise, brands that leverage the opportunities social media presents to offer their customers interactive experience are more likely to win the hearts and minds of consumers and see a stronger impact on their business in the long-term,” said Arlia.
Overall, the data also suggests that the gap between engagement on Instagram profiles (Likes and Comments on posts published by brands on their profiles) and Facebook profiles is continuing to widen. In Q2 2020, interactions generated by Instagram profiles were 4.4x higher than on Facebook profiles. This gap has only increased in Q2 2021, reaching 6.35x. The data indicates a similar trend in the Middle East over the past year, with Instagram profiles leading with 5.4x higher engagement compared to Facebook profiles despite having a smaller audience overall.
Qatar Airways was the top-performing brand page on Facebook in the Middle East in Q2 with 3,197,457 interactions on 157 posts, while Filimo took the top spot on Instagram, with 5,218,243 interactions on 395 posts. Within the hospitality sector, the top-performing profile on Facebook was Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, which saw 215,199 interactions on 99 posts, while Burj Al Arab generated the highest number of interactions on Instagram, with 238,529 on 28 posts.
If you wish to download the global report, you can find it here.
The ME report can be downloaded here.