These two platforms, as well as influencer marketing and a ‘mobile-first’ mandate are slated to rule the roost next year.

The rise of social commerce, the changing roles of Instagram and Facebook, influencer marketing; and the exploding popularity of video, are just a few of the developments that online marketers will need to analyze and incorporate into their strategies in the coming year.

This is the finding of a comprehensive report on Instagram and Facebook Trends for Q3 2019 by Socialbakers released on 11 Dec.

The report reflects the current state of online marketing, with data and graphics that reveal the trends and changes shaping the social media landscape. Key insights from the report include the expanded importance of Ecommerce and social commerce, ad spend on Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, trends in video content through various channels, and the evolution of CPC (Cost per Click) and CTR (Click through Rate).

Said Socialbakers CEO, Yuval Ben-Itzhak: “The latest data shows that marketers continue to shift their resources to social media channels and formats that can better attract and engage users, but it’s a gradual evolution with a lot of moving parts”.

Key report findings

  • Ad spend on Instagram Stories grows nearly 70% YoY; accounting for 10% of total ad spend at the end of Q3 2019. Meanwhile, ad spend for Facebook Stories has grown by only 0.3%.
  • The Ecommerce category continues to rise, ranking first on Facebook and second on Instagram in total interactions. Fashion rules on Instagram, increasing its engagement lead from 27.8% in Q2 to 31.9% in Q3 2019.
  • Social commerce emerges as a major trend, as brands provide the ability to purchase products directly from social media platforms.
  • Sporting Goods, Beauty and e-commerce brands have the lowest exit rates on Instagram Stories. Food, Beverage and Finance brands, however, are struggling to retain the attention of their audiences.
  • Use of the hashtag #ad by Instagram influencers grows by 60%. Walmart is the number one brand associated with Instagram influencers.
  • Video engagement has exploded across all platforms, spurred by new formats such as Facebook Live, IGTV and interactive add-ons for Instagram Stories.
  • Marketers must think ‘mobile first’ as paid ads are now seen on mobile devices 95.8% of the time compared to only 4.2% of the time on desktops.

Insights show five notable trends

Socialbaker has gleaned insights from the report to show four major trends worth monitoring and exploiting in the months ahead:

1. Instagram’s superior engagement attracts ad spend

Although brands still put the majority (more than 60%) of their ad spend into Facebook feeds, over the long term the data shows that the volume of ad spend on Facebook has been decreasing. With a 10x jump in ad spend on Instagram Stories from January 2018 to the end of Q3 2019, it is clear that marketing budgets are increasingly shifting their investments towards Instagram. The reason is obvious—Instagram has a much superior engagement rate compared to Facebook today.

Looking at the world’s 50 biggest brand profiles on Instagram and Facebook, analyst note that Instagram continues to have more interactions on profile posts than Facebook, which was also true in Q2 2019. Because Instagram now offers both large audience size and high engagement, it is pulling more ad spend to the platform. As Facebook ad spend declines, Instagram feed placement has been growing and has reached at least 20% of total ad spend since Q1 2019.

2. Social Commerce takes off

With its leading position for total interactions on both Facebook and Instagram, the e-commerce category is hot. And one of the biggest trends within e-commerce is the expansion of social commerce. More and more, users are able to make purchases directly from social media platforms after they discover a product, instead of having to visit a shopping site’s app or an online store. There is plenty of reason to believe that the growing social commerce trend will only continue.

3. Influencer marketing is growing, not waning

Influencer marketing proved in a big way that it is still a popular marketing tool. Reversing an overall downward trend, the use of #ad by influencers (to denote sponsorship) on Instagram really spiked at the end of Q3 2019, jumping up 60% by the end of the quarter. As these numbers demonstrate, consumers are increasingly seeking out reviews and trusted voices when making purchasing decisions. This will likely continue as holiday campaigns ramp up in Q4 2019 and the use of #ad is expected to soar over the previous high from December 2018.

4. Video engagement is exploding

Although images remain the leading post type on both Facebook and Instagram, the popularity of video and its ability to engage users is exploding. Facebook and Instagram have both added new formats for video content such as Facebook Live, IGTV, and interactive and moving add-ons for IG stories. Facebook Live is now the leading performer on that platform, with more than twice as many median post interactions as the second-closest post type.

The latest data shows that different versions of video perform well and have grown. Facebook Live and regular video both had slight increases in interactions from Q2 to Q3, with regular video now ranking third in media post interactions. And on Instagram, video surged in Q3 2019 to nearly catch up with images in terms of media post interactions. For marketers, the popularity of video is a trend they should keep an eye on this holiday season and in the coming year.

5. ‘Mobile First’ is a must for social media marketers

Looking at all brands ad accounts across Facebook and Instagram, the cost per click is nearly double for users engaging via desktop (0.25 USD) than via mobile (0.13 USD). In addition, paid ads are seen on mobile devices 95.8% of the time compared to just 4.2% of the time on desktops. This is a slightly bigger disparity than seen in Q2 2019 and reinforces the fact that ad spend plans need to always think of ‘mobile first.’

Ben-Itzhak commented: “Of all the trends we uncovered this quarter, the rapid expansion of social commerce is one that we expect to have a tremendous impact in the year to come. Very soon it will be possible to run the entire marketing funnel from discovery to post-purchase customer care via social media. We don’t need a crystal ball to predict that social commerce will eventually overtake e-commerce as we know it today. Moving into 2020, we will see more and more e-commerce features being added to the social media platforms.”

The complete Instagram and Facebook Q3 2019 Trends Report with supporting graphics is now available for free download.