Research & Data 3 minutes, 8 second read Just.Marketing
The Socialbakers’ Social Media Trends Report Q1 2020 has found that celebrity influencers have lost favour with audiences: there are no celebrities in the list of top influencers.
The ‘real-life’ appeal of ‘more authentic’ influencers is being explained by the worldwide pandemic and a desire to feel that ‘we’re all in this together’.
In a shift that is also likely tied to the worldwide pandemic, the number of influencers using #ad and other sponsored hashtags declined significantly in 2020. In March, 11,341 Instagram influencers associated with Brands used #ad, which was the lowest number since August 2019.
In the UK, 4,252 influencer posts used #ad, a decline of 35% compared to the previous quarter, and a decline of 15% compared to Q1 last year.
“At the moment, the best-performing influencers are more likely to be authentic ‘everyday’ influencers,” says Socialbakers CEO Yuval Ben-Itzhak.
“Audiences are looking for and engaging with more relatable, real-life content, rather than aspirational and manicured posts – perhaps because they offer the sense that ‘we are all in this together,’” he says.
Instagram’s audience engagement continues to grow
One trend that carries on despite the pandemic is the continuing rise of Instagram. Globally Instagram’s total audience size is now 28% larger than the audience for the top 50 biggest brand profiles on Facebook.
In the UK, it is a different story with the audience size for the top 50 biggest profiles on both platforms being almost the same – suggesting that Facebook is still going strong in the UK.
Despite this, Instagram is stronger in engagement, with total interactions more than seven times higher than on Facebook. Yet, brands still posted more content on Facebook – almost 60% of brand posts from the 50 biggest profiles across both platforms were on Facebook.
Audiences spend more time online
With the practice of social distancing amid the global pandemic, people are spending more time online. For example, fans of Facebook Brand pages in Europe spent more time online in March every day of the week, and every waking hour, compared to previous months.
The peak time for online activity was 8pm and the difference was most striking on weekend nights, when people would usually be out of the house. Comparing February to March, the peak usage time increased 13.2% on Friday nights and 14.8% on Saturday nights.
Opportunity for brands to gain greater reach with sponsored content
Of the six regions measured by Socialbakers, five saw a decline in CPC during March, as the pandemic really hit.
This decline in ad costs ranged from 22.1% in Southeast Asia to 42.4% in Southern Europe. While the overall reach for brand pages on Facebook went down starting in mid-March, brands that promoted their posts, taking advantage of the lower ad costs, saw a 28.6% increase in page reach from March 13 to April 13.
Ad spend and Cost per Click rise in East Asia where business is resuming
Looking at six regions globally, all showed the expected annual decrease in ad spend around the holidays. However, after some increases in the New Year, most decreased back down to the holiday level in Q1 or even lower because of the pandemic.
One exception is East Asia, where business is resuming. In that region, ad spend increased by 12.7% since the beginning of March. East Asia also saw CPC increase by 30.7% during the last month, returning to fall 2019 levels.
This suggests that as other regions get the coronavirus under control, their ad spend will also bounce back, which was shown in recent data from late April, as CPC and ad spend started to rise once again in the USA and Western Europe.