Despite COVID-19’s economic impact, social media ad spend surged 92 percent in the US during Q4 2020, according to Socialbakers’ latest social media trends report. Globally, social media ad spend saw a 50 percent increase during the 2020 holiday season compared to the same period in 2019.

Other insights from the study include a worldwide increase in cost-per-click (CPC), greater reach for advertisers on Facebook and a decline in the use of Instagram influencers over the holidays.

The average ad spend across industries in Q4 increased by 33 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), with ecommerce fashion, auto and alcohol seeing the largest growth. Ecommerce ad spend grew by 25 percent QoQ, more than doubling from Q1.

Digital ad spend grew 56 percent year-over-year (YoY), with global CPC nine percent higher YoY ($0.180 VS. $0.165). The global average mostly grew throughout the holiday season, reaching a high in mid-December and dropping at the end of the year.

In the US, the Q4 CPC peak was identical to that of 2019, but at the end of the year, it increased by 15 percent ($0.506 vs. $0.441).

Worldwide CPC for brands on Facebook and Instagram ended 2020 nearly 36 percent higher than it started ($0.141 vs. $0.104).

Socialbakers found that nearly 74 percent of total ad spend went to the main feeds of Facebook and Instagram. Instagram Stories received nearly 11 percent of spend.

The Facebook News Feed comprised 57 percent of the relative ad spend in Q4, followed by Instagram feed and Instagram Stories, which collectively accounted for 27 percent of spend.

Among top five placements by relative ad spend in Q4 2020 vs. Q4 2019, the Facebook News Feed grew by 12 percent in CPC and 4.6 percent in cost per thousand (CPM). Facebook in-stream video increased by 16 percent in CPM QoQ, while Facebook video feeds increased by 29 percent.

Globally, Facebook ad reach increased by 23 percent YoY, while it grew by nearly 76 percent YoY in the US. In Latin America, it increased by about 42 percent.

Indicating the growing dominance of Instagram, Socialbakers’ data reveal that in Q4, the total audience size of the 50 biggest brand profiles was 39 percent larger on Instagram than Facebook. YoY, Instagram’s audience grew by 11.3 percent compared to Q4 2019, while Facebook’s audience decreased by 17.6 percent.

Though 55 percent of all brand posts were on Facebook, there were 21.4 times more interactions on Instagram than on Facebook.

Facebook Live in Q4 saw nearly triple the organic interactions that Facebook videos saw. For Instagram, carousels saw the most organic interactions.

As far as influencer marketing, Socialbakers found that the usage of #ad in posts decreased by nearly 18 percent YoY. Additionally, the only cohort among influencers to grow was those with more than 1 million followers. While marketers partnered with nano- and micro-influencers more than any other kind of influencer in 2020, by the end of the year, the number of collaborations with mega-influencers grew while others declined.

Socialbakers’ ad spend data is based on a sample size of more than 15,000 Facebook advertising accounts.