New research from Socialbakers shows that Instagram and Facebook dominate the paid social landscape. According to its “Must-Know Social Trends for Q2 2019,” more than 60 percent of ad spend is allocated to Facebook’s news feed rather than being diversified across Instagram feed, stories, suggested video and in-stream placements. 

This is the case even despite marketers increasing their overall spend on Instagram. The findings also show that mobile remains a paramount platform for brands and that influencer marketing continues to surge. Here we’re taking a closer look at the role Facebook and Instagram play in paid social activations and how brands are targeting consumers on a variety of other social platforms that have gained significant traction.

If Instagram and Facebook are the two most popular paid social platforms then influencers are the stars of the show. Socialbaker analyzed over 3 million influencer profiles and found that the number of Instagram influencers affiliated with brands who made posts using #ad increased by 33 percent compared to Q2 2018. That number is expected to surge. According to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. Amazon is also deepening its influencer marketing efforts with new influencer storefronts. Building on its Amazon influencer program, launched in 2017, the storefront lets influencers link directly to Amazon through channels where hyperlinking a URL isn’t possible. 

The two highest click-through rates (CTR) for brand accounts are on Facebook ad placement, with 1.7 percent clicking through on the news feed and over 0.75 percent clicking a suggested video. Comparatively, for Instagram feed and stories, the number is 0.25 percent or below. Carousel is the leading format for organic interactions on Instagram while it’s the live feature for Facebook. All factors considered, Facebook seems to be the top choice for marketers given the platform moves users from social to web, and ultimately, offers a user experience that leads to lower costs.

When brands put all their eggs in one basket, namely by advertising to everyone, they’re using a blanket strategy. Brands who lack paid social media diversification and employ blanket ads could potentially see less acquisition and conversion in the long run because those ads fail to micro-target niche groups or personalize messages based on consumers’ self-identified interests. Maximizing cross-channel visibility and focusing on paid social media optimization not only help to target new customers, but also re-engages previous ones and allows a brand to reinforce core messages. 

Expanding ads to other social media platforms other than Facebook and Instagram is especially critical given the steady increase in users and engagement on Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube. For example, 300 million people use Pinterest every month and 84 percent of people use the platform when they’re deciding what to buy. What’s more, 98 percent of pinners have tried something new they found on Pinterest. According to Pew Research Center’s survey on social media use in 2018, 94 percent of 18-24 year olds use YouTube. Similarly for Snapchat, 82 percent of users ages 18 to 24 say they use the platform daily, and 71 percent use it multiple times a day.

With 70 percent of brands planning to increase spend on social media networks—and the percentage of US internet users who made a purchase through social media growing to 34 percent this year from 29 percent in 2018, per Bizrate Insights—it’s important to note the ways brands are diversifying their paid social media strategy.

Legacy brands, for example, are beginning to test the waters on Pinterest due to the platform’s roll out of discovery tools such as mobile ad tools and “Shop The Look” ads. In May, Macy’s launched an out-of-home (OOH) campaign called “OUT[FITS], stationing pincodes in popular beaches, lakes and parks. When scanned, the pin code directed consumers to a page on which they could shop the items. Similarly, MillersCoors and PepsiCo have taken to Pinterest. In April 2019, MillersCoors launched its Cape Line Sparkling Cocktails on Pinterest via promoted video ads and carousel. To spread the word about its Quaker Kids Organic line of soft-baked bars, PepsiCo utilized static pins targeted to consumers searching for lunchbox inspiration. 

Brands taking a chance on Pinterest comes at a time when the platform found, in a study of 9 million consumers, that Pinterest households were 29 percent more likely to try a new product within the first 10 months of launch than non-Pinterest households—which included more than 40 consumer packaged goods (CPG) product launches.

Campaign elements are also starting to find their way to Twitter, perhaps in light of the platform’s recent attempt to support influencer marketing. Samsung Spain, for example, partnered with HBO’s Game of Thrones to promote its QLED television sets for a Twitter poll about their favorite characters. During the five-day campaign, the #BatallaQLED hashtag received four times more mentions than the #GameofThrones hashtag in Spain.

Grubhub uses Snapchat creatively via ads and contests to target its college students. In 2018, the food delivery company launched a game called “Food’s Here” accessible via an ad in Snapchat stories. As a reward for winning all three levels, users would win $10 off their first order when they downloaded the Grubhub app. The ad ran for 30 days and its success was measured by swipe-up rate, length of game play and offer redemptions. 

On YouTube, six-second bumper ads have been proved to raise brand affinity. YouTube launched theirTrueView” bumper ads in 2018 after a survey the company conducted showed that people are three times more likely to pay attention to online video ads versus televisions ads. Among 84 TrueView campaigns in beta testing, nine out of 10 drove a significant lift in ad recall, with about a 20 percent average lift. Uber, for example, used 85 different TrueView bumper ad variations to connect with consumers in India, resulting in 63 percent more first trips from YouTube at an 18 percent lower cost per first trip than past campaigns. YouTube released a roundup of the top 20 bumper ads from around the globe with brands like Samsung, iHOP and Hefty earning top spots.

In addition to incorporating Snapchat and YouTube into their social campaigns, brands would be wise to up their mobile strategies given that ads are seen on mobile devices 95.1 percent of the time compared to 4.9 percent of the time on desktop, according to Socialbaker. Sephora and The Home Depot are two examples of brands that are using mobile to deliver customers a personalized shopping experience. Sailthru’s retail personalization report ranked Sephora, The Home Depot and Walmart as the top retailers for data-driven mobile and email customization. Eighty-four percent of the top 25 brands surveyed used mobile push notifications compared with 10 percent of brands not in the top 100. Likewise, in a Forrester study of retailer mobile apps, The Home Depot app ranked first due to strong user experience and Sephora came in second.