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Paid Social Soars 25% in Q4 According to New Emplifi Report

Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience platform, released the results of its comprehensive analysis of Q4 2021 social media data, offering key insights into paid and organic user engagement and post interaction on Instagram and Facebook, and social media customer care.

It’s no surprise that in Q4 2021, global ad spend was higher than at any point over the past year. In comparison to the previous quarter, ad spend saw a 25% increase over what was spent in Q3 2021. A healthy holiday season led paid social to soar in Q4, up 21.25% from the same time last year, which had been the first holiday season since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This also highlights how much more brands invest in paid social over the holiday season. During the last quarter of 2021, Click-Thru-Rates (CTRs) held steady but Cost-Per-Click (CPC) increased, meaning marketers had to pay more for that audience.

Brands seeking to benchmark their social media content’s level of engagement – as measured in likes, comments and shares – will be interested in Emplifi’s analysis across more than 7,000 brands. In general, Instagram posts earned higher engagement than Facebook posts. In Q4 2021, brands earned approximately 5.3 interactions per 1,000 impressions for a Facebook post, a 19% decrease compared to Q4 2020. Meanwhile, Instagram posts received about 35 interactions per 1,000 impressions in Q4 2021, which was similar to Q4 2020. On Facebook, Accommodation/Hospitality brands had the highest engagement (11.5 interactions) while E-commerce brands only garnered 2.9 interactions. On Instagram, the Beverages industry took the lead (49.9), while Retail lagged behind (18.4) with the lowest engagement rates.

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“It’s important that brands understand what consumers want and need at each stage of their purchase journey. The foundation of any successful social media campaign is content that truly resonates with your target audiences, which alongside customer care, is a large contributor to a positive customer experience,” said Emplifi CMO Zarnaz Arlia.

Social Media Customer Care

Social media efforts related to customer service are a very recent shift. Gone are the days when consumers interact with brands by just phone or email. Today’s consumers spend their time on social media – that’s where they want to engage with brands and they have high expectations on responsiveness.

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Emplifi also analyzed the efficacy of social media customer care by measuring how often brands respond to user questions in the comments (response rate), and the timeliness of their response (response time).

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In Q4 2021, there was a slight decline compared to Q4 2020 response rates across all three platforms – Facebook (-3%), Instagram (-2%), and Twitter (-2%). Brands were also more likely to respond to questions on Instagram than they were on Twitter, with the exception of brands in Automotive and Home and Living, which both had higher response rates on Facebook than Instagram.

In general, though, Beauty and FMCG Food brands have the highest response rates to user questions on social media, while Automotive brands had the lower response rates.

Emplifi data also shows that the time it takes for brands to respond is slowly increasing on Facebook and Instagram, with year-on-year increases of 1.0 and 2.6 hours seen on these platforms, respectively. On the other hand, brands’ response times on Twitter decreased by 1 hour since Q4 2020. The growing mainstream use of chatbots is also noteworthy. Over time, expect brands to increase both response rate and response time by leveraging AI-powered chatbots to respond to frequently asked questions.

“People want fast answers to their questions and there is room for improvement when it comes to brands’ response time on social media. Finding efficiencies for simple inquiries can address consumer expectations and provide support teams with more time to solve complex questions. The businesses that succeed and gain market share understand this, and how it elevates the overall customer experience,” said Arlia.

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