Social media is main place to advertise digitally, study finds – as social sites turn into marketplaces

By Paul Skeldon April 17, 2018 - 6:20 am

More than a third (36%) of UK retail advertisers say social media will be a priority for them in 2018, new data suggests.

According to the Marin Software State of Digital Advertising report, social was the most popular form of digital advertising for retailers, with 90% of retail advertisers investing in it, contrasting with 77% spending on search in 2018.

That contrasts with a year earlier, when 74% of respondents reported investing in paid search while 73% cited current investment in paid social.  The study also found that in 2018, Facebook was the biggest beneficiary of spending, with half of retailers allocating 84% of their paid social budget to the channel.

This is all closely followed by the importance of demonstrating and measuring marketing return on investment (32%), closely followed by the importance of establishing effective metrics (28%), delivering personalisation (28%) and embracing omni-channel (24%),.

Voice search is also set to come to the fore this year, suggests the Marin report, while Amazon is set to disrupt retail still further. Already, it says, almost 75% of online traffic takes place on Facebook and Google properties.

The report cites emarketer data to suggest that the global retail sector is growing by $723bn year-on-year, and is expected to be worth almost $26 trillion in 2020. While in-store retail remains most popular, ecommerce is growing faster will reach $2.8 trillion in 2018. Its fast growth is driven by mobile commerce, put at 34% of global ecommerce transactions and growing 200% faster than traditional ecommerce.

The research comes hot on the heels of social media sites Instagram and Pinterest both upping the ante in making themselves not just social sharing platforms, but places to buy from.

Instagram effectively became a new breed of marketplace when it rolled out its Shop Now feature to business accounts in the UK, as well as Germany France, Italy Brazil, Canada, Spain and Australia last month. The feature now allows users to tap tags and see prices, then link through to the retailer’s website, with the help of a brand new “Shop Now” button. Previously, users would have been directed to a ‘Link in bio’ – disrupting the user journey.

Meanwhile, Pinterest has extended its Propel program to the UK and other territories to help businesses sell on the site.

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