Social Media Spending Reaches Record Highs: Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has lead to businesses shutting down, declining revenue and economic recession. Many in the social media marketing field have been uncertain about how this would impact budgets. But according to the latest CMO Survey spending on social media marketing has grown to record levels with a 75% spike since February 2020.

How Covid-19 Influenced the Importance of Marketing in Companies
The CMO Survey (https://cmosurvey.org/)

Social media spending reaches highs predicted for years.

The percent of marketing budget spent on social media has hovered around 10%-13% since 2014 while marketers always predicted it would reach 20% or higher. With the pandemic spending has finally reached 23% and marketers expect it to stay that high for the next year. The CMO Survey reports this in the context of declining overall budgets and revenue, but as those declined the average percent of revenue spent on marketing increased as most perceived it to be more important during the pandemic.

Why such a sudden and dramatic jump?

Part of this jump is certainly people using social media more. After years of stalled gains eMarketer updated predictions indicating US adults will spend 7 more minutes per day on social networks in 2020 than in 2019. But according to the CMO Survey marketers have also become more confident in social media’s contribution to company performance. After remaining flat for years marketer confidence in social media performance increased 23% from February 2020.

How was social media used during the pandemic?

The CMO Survey reports marketers used social media the most for:

  • Brand awareness and brand building 84%
  • Retaining current customers 54%
  • Acquiring new customers 51%
  • Brand promotions 48%

What does this mean for your social media strategy?

As marketers reduce spending on traditional advertising, they are shifting resources to digital and social. With this increased spending comes higher expectations. Now is a good time to check your social strategy to ensure you are headed in the right direction. Make sure your social media is focused on the right objectives, on the right people, with the right message, and in the right places.

Do you have the right objectives?

Are your objectives focused on building business like the one’s above? Or are your objectives focused on building social media vanity metrics such as followers, likes, comments and shares which make social media an end unto itself? Ensure that your objectives connect to company performance not social media performance. Ensure that you have a solid Social Media Measurement Plan.

Are you reaching the right people?

Have you identified a target audience based on a well-defined target market for your product or service? Or are you casting a wide net hoping to catching anyone who could use the product or anyone on the social platform? Look at customer data to determine who actually buys your product not just follows your social account. Also consider The Customer Journey and Social Media Marketing Cycle as the old marketing funnels no longer apply in social.

Are you posting the right message?

Are you creating unique messages that speak to a well-defined audience with content customize to the social network? Or are messages more generic and content the same across social channels? Optimize content to increase performance. Consider Best Practices for Social Media Content Writing And Design.

Is your brand in the right places?

Are you on social media channels because you have been on them for years or because they are popular? Or have you evaluated social channels based on user demographics and engagement metrics of where your focused audience is most active? Take time to evaluate brand social platforms for wasted effort and missed opportunities. To get started consider Top Social Media Channels By Category.

Social media marketing has reached record highs and looks like it will remain there for at least the next year. As social media has matured and spending increases make sure your social media strategy will be as effective as possible.

 

Social Media Reaches Middle Age. Are We Headed Towards A Midlife Crisis?

When you reach middle age life begins to change. Things don’t work like they used to, your favorite songs are now considered classics, and you start dreaming of convertible sports cars. Social media as a marketing tool has reach middle age and is maturing as a medium. Yet this doesn’t mean we are facing a mid-life crisis. It means we need to change the way we think about our social media strategies.

Social media is no longer new and has become mainstream for many.

Across the globe 3.5 billion people are active on social media. And while social media users are increasing there are signs we have entered a maturity stage. One sign of this new era is that user growth has stalled in certain markets. The number of social media users in the U.S. failed to grow for the first time last year. And Facebook’s growth has slowed in the U.S. and Canada to just 1% while growth in Europe was just 2%.

Growth has stalled in other areas as well. US daily time spent with social media fell 1 minute in 2018 after an increase of 13 minutes the previous two years. And it is predicted that time will remain flat at just 1 hour, 15 minutes through 2021. While we are spending less time on social media we are adding more social platforms. The average global social media user age 16-34 has 9 social media accounts. Even 55-64 year old’s are on 5 social media platforms now.

New social media platforms stats become more relevant.

In this new era social media managers must consider more than global monthly active users (MAUs) and overall user demographics of social platforms. Another stat to consider is daily active users (DAUs) among target audiences in specific markets. The question to ask may no longer be “What social media platform is my target audience on?”, but instead consider “What social media platforms are my target audience most active in?” This makes a difference as the table below illustrates.

Globally the top social platforms by highest MAUs are Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. But if you look at global DAUs the top social platforms switch order with Snapchat in first, then Facebook, followed by Twitter. The platforms and order further change when you add demographics and a specific country. The highest DAUs for Gen Z (age 13-19) in the U.S. now become Instagram first, YouTube second, and third Snapchat.

Flat time spent with social media, stalled user growth and more social accounts means platforms and brands have become more competitive for user’s time. And this has lead to increased social ad spending. Social media used to be thought of as “free marketing,” but no longer if you want to remain effective and drive results. While social media marketing use among U.S. brands rose 1% in the past two years (90% to 91%), social media ad spending increase 48% ($18.6 billion to $34.9 billion).

A maturing social media landscape calls for some new strategies.

What do these signs of aging mean? It means putting the top down on your social media and letting in some new strategies. Instead of using social to saturate your audience with brand content across the same channels you may need to add social platforms where you have not been before. And if you haven’t already you’ll need to use more paid social to reach those users. But this doesn’t mean spray and pray. Success comes in targeting the right audiences at the right time in the right social platforms. And it means using AI machine learning to optimize those efforts.

Yet brand posts and brand ads may not be enough. Social media strategies must also integrate employee advocacy, executive communication, user generated content, social customer care, influencer marketing, and messaging. Paid can drive direct action and increase reach, but organic can build community which can lead to advocacy.

Finally, with the increase in social ad spending this means more than ever you’ll need to connect social strategy to business objectives using analytics to measure outcomes with a good Social Media Measurement Plan. Avoid a midlife crisis. Take the time to adjust your social media strategy. A good first step is to Perform A Social Media Audit of your existing strategy following a Social Media Audit Template. Social media author and consultant Jay Baer says, “If your social media strategy is older than a year, you don’t have a strategy.” As social media has matured and spending has increased after COVID-19 Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy.