2015 Paid Social Media Benchmarks (and Predictions for 2016)

2015 has seen a significant shift in paid activity across social media. Facebook has received the most attention, mostly in part due to the continuous investment in highly specific data being made available to advertisers through the media buying dashboard.

We’ve come from an era of paying for fans and likes and enter a new era of accountable social marketing. But first up, let’s assess the changes in the year that was thanks to good people at Salesforce

The six most important changes to Facebook media in 2015

  1. Australia is now the most expensive country for Facebook advertising. This is the result of a relatively small population (by comparison with other markets) and increased competition for eyeballs.
  2. Auction prices are on the increase meaning that awareness is expensive (compared to what it was), but CPC is relatively constant. Click Through Rates however are improving, and we deduce that new targeting data means that smart brands are happy to pay a little more for a quality lead instead of chasing likes.
  3. Facebook Media Costs by Country including Australian CPM CPC CTR for 2015Video ads are performing well with good video start and impressive 21% view through rates (watching at least 75% of the message). Advertising spend behind this media is also shattering expectations with cost per views coming in as low as $0.04c or $0.17c for a 75% video view.
  4. Automotive and Consumer Packaged Goods are the most costly industries. See the full list of industry benchmark performance below.
  5. 2015 Facebook Media Buying Benchmarks via SalesforceeCommerce advertisers are going for ROI by optimising for website conversions and eliminating spend on endless impressions.
  6. Entertainment brands are winning on engagement and also earning the highest click through rates on average.

What we can expect in 2016

Decision by ROI

Marketers and advertisers are going to be accountable for their social media spend. Social data is allowing for targeted engagement opportunities and the cost implication of awareness (not so cheap likes) versus conversions (an agreeable cost per sale) will coerce marketers into defining what conversions are and attribute values to all of these conversions.

Less Likes, More Sales

Marketing priorities are likely to shift from engagement and likes into sales. Defining objectives and goals will earn more respect in the decision and media distribution planning process as accountable media becomes an option. The impact of this is that desktop and mobile platforms will require a refresh with new levels of Facebook Pixel tagging to drive specific goals and actions.

Narrowed Focus

Content marketing has seen a year of broad brush strokes in anticipation of catching a few fans and clicks on the way, but moving forward both content and the targeting of the content will become more bespoke. It’s becoming more and more crucial to rather produce fewer high-value, high converting content pieces than publishing extremes of volume in the hope of even blipping on the radar. Content marketing has almost circumvented the teenage years of display when more was best and the focus on audience and intention will benefit brands, advertisers and above all, our audiences.

In summary:

We don’t see social media spend decreasing – the conversation is going to turn to accountability. We’ll start the conversation around understanding and establishing goals before we assess media types or ad formats.

We’ll plan our calendars with a mix of goal-oriented always on tactics, and highly targeted campaigns.

Acquisition will talk to quality leads, not page likes.

We’ll ask to see your data, and it’s in your interest to make it available.

Get your hands on the full Salesforce report, including data on Twitter and LinkedIn, here.

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