MARKETING BRIEFING: The best social media platforms to invest in 2022

An Emplifi study showed that brand posts on Instagram had 6.1x higher engagement than Facebook.

Emplifi’s “State of Social Media and CX” report for Q3 2021 has found that brands are paying more to reach consumers on social media; but to make the most of their paid social dollar, content must be delivered at the right platform, an Emplifi executive said.

According to the report, social ad spending on Facebook and Instagram has surged 34.3% year-on-year (YoY) to $2912.14 (US$2,131.06) per ad account per month and cost-per-clicks also grew 34.3% YoY in Singapore alone.
This behaviour from brands is no longer surprising, according to Emplifi Vice President for Asia Pacific & Japan, Varun Sharma, particularly in Singapore where residents spend an average of 2.17 hours on social media a day.
Sharma, however, told Singapore Business Review that brands can only benefit from social media ads if they know their audience, underscoring the importance of familiarising themselves with the platforms available today.
“Through analysis of our data and the conversations we have with brands we can safely say that brands get a much better return on their investment if they invest in the platforms on which their customers are active,” Sharma said, adding that brands see “much better results” if they invest in creating and boosting content that resonate with their audiences. 
Citing August 2021 data from Statista, Sharma said YouTube is the most popular platform in Singapore, followed by WhatsApp and Facebook. Back in January 2020, data provided by AnyMind showed that YouTube was also the top platform used by Singaporeans, with 4.42 million users (86%), followed by WhatsApp (81%), Facebook (79%), and Instagram (62%).
Globally, Emplifi’s study showed that Instagram performed better against Facebook in terms of engagement, having 6.1x higher interactions than the latter.
In terms of formats, the report found that live video is growing as a tool to generate online engagement and sales, generating three times more engagement compared to other types of posts. 
Data showed that live videos get 42 median post interactions, whilst photos and pre-recorded videos get an average of 15 and 14, respectively. 
“They are real-time, conversational, and can drive sales when integrated into a social commerce strategy,” Sharma said.
However, the potential of live videos or live experiences has yet to be fully taken advantage of by marketers, according to Sharma. 
Meanwhile, for brands who wish to try influencer marketing, Instagram still remains the key platform for brands to spend on. Twitter and YouTube follow through; but TikTok has been seeing increased momentum, Aditya Aima, managing director of Agency Business for AnyMind Group, said. 
Based on AnyMind’s January 2020 report, Instagram was the main platform of choice for fast-moving consumer goods, e-commerce, gadgets, and food and drinks industries.

Doing social ads right
More than identifying what platforms they should invest in, brands must provide a unique experience to their consumers for their social media advertising to make an impact, not only in their engagement, but also in their revenue. Retailers, therefore, must take advantage of concepts such as “in-store shopping, online shopping, click-and-collect, scan-and-shop, no minimum spend,” amongst others, Sharma said.
“Customers want to engage with brands on their terms, channels, and devices. Those that can offer a seamless customer journey, with flexibility and convenience will build loyalty with their consumers,” Sharma said.
Aima said markets can utilise influencer-generated content within their social media advertising to create a unique storytelling ad experience where users are taken on a journey that includes influencer-generated content such as product reviews.
To conclude, Sharma said social media advertising should “be very closely aligned with, not only marketing goals, but also the sales goals” of the company.
“Today social media is the place people go to discover new products (via a piece of branded content, via an influencer, or someone in their community), and buy products,” he said.
No slowing down
Sharma said branded ad investment on social media will not slow down any time soon and will continue to grow in the next five to 10 years, specifically in South East Asia (SEA).
Sharma, citing a report from Bain, said social media has surpassed physical retail when it comes to commerce in SEA.
The analysis also cited a 2021 study by Visa which found that, in Singapore, 74% or nearly three in four consumers are shopping online more frequently as a result of the pandemic, whilst two in five (41%) are doing so via social media channels, and one in five is a first-timer (21%).
“It’s safe to say that brands will continue to invest in social media as a means of not only reaching and engaging with audiences but also building loyal communities and growing revenue,” he added.
The analyst said brands understand the importance of being active on social media platforms as they anticipate a social-first future.
AnyMind Group also believes that social ad spending will continue to grow in the years to come “as marketers and brands look to gain competitive advantages within” the social media ecosystem. 
Aima, for his part, said he is seeing the emergence of new platforms that can capture user attention and evolution amongst current platforms such as influencer marketing, social commerce, and even metaverse.
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