Kenshoo recently released its quarterly Q4 2018 trends report, which is bursting with data. The report focused on search and social trends—these remained strong throughout the year and still continue to lead in digital advertising spend.
The report suggests marketers look at Q4 as a solid indicator of how the following year will turn out and get vital insights to better prep for 2019.
Marketers invested significant amounts in search advertising last year, as search shopping campaigns prove to be a productive return on investment resource. According to eMarketer, in 2018, brands around the globe spent more than $120 billion on search advertising, and the lion’s share came in Q4.
Kenshoo’s report revealed one peculiar data piece related to search volume growth: while spending was up 14 percent, clicks and impressions were up even higher at 31 percent and 47 percent respectively. One explanation is shoppers’ convenience to search for anything, anywhere and anytime, thanks to successful search shopping campaigns tied to mobile. According to the report, three out of every four dollars spent on shopping campaign impressions were on mobile devices.
Social Advertising Performance
Social media advertising surged in 2018, as social video ads, for example, represented 40 percent of social spend in Q4 according to Kenshoo’s report.
Instagram, the second largest social ad platform in the world, saw a 120 percent increase in ad spend YoY. However, it is important to note that although Instagram is rapidly growing in terms of social advertising, Facebook is still dominating the field. This could be related to the fact that although widely successful, Instagram is still a relatively new player in the advertising industry arena.
The majority of Instagram ad spend growth came from advertisers who have been on Instagram for at least one year.
Per the report, “advertisers who have been using Instagram Ads since 2017 spent four times more on the channel than those who only started spending on Instagram Ads in 2018.” Also, despite being heavily criticized, Instagram stories grew faster in spending than Instagram feed. Instagram stories made up 10 percent of all Instagram ad spend share in Q4, marking a 2 percent increase from the previous quarter.
Social video ads were also up across the board, “Social video ads represented 40 percent of social spend in Q4 which was the same as Q3 and seems to be where advertisers have landed on its role in the social media plan” said the report.
What made Pinterest numbers unique was the growth of engagement on the platform, even before the holidays. The report shows that the ads skyrocketed in Q3, with a click-through-rate of 0.70 percent versus just 0.56 percent in Q2.
And, as a result, conversions came, Pinterest spending was 58 percent higher in Q4 than in Q3 last year.
This is a common trend on the platform because consumers check Pinterest for gift tips and inspiration in advance of the holiday season. This is what makes Pinterest a great channel for creating buzz around the products in the times when the users are only “shopping” for ideas and not things.