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Global ad spend up by 50% on Facebook and Instagram in Q2: Emplifi reports

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Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience platform, recently released its State of Social Media and CX report, highlighting key data points for social media ad spend by industry and region, organic post performance, influencer marketing, and CX trends for Q2 2021. 

The data shows global ad spend on Facebook and Instagram increased 50 percent year-over-year during Q2, while Facebook ad reach dropped 12.4 percent globally. The report also examines IGTV performance rates, finding that IGTV videos performed nearly as well as photo-based posts and delivered higher engagement rates than standard video posts on Instagram. 

According to Emplifi’s 2021 Middle East report for Q2, most of the relative ad spend by brands went to Facebook feeds (53.4 percent), followed by Instagram feeds (17.7 percent), and Instagram Stories (11 percent). The data also reveals that within the Middle East, the retail category dominated the number of interactions of brand pages on Facebook (23 percent), followed by telecom (16.7 percent) and airlines (13.5 percent). Retail brand pages also secured the highest number of interactions on Instagram (22.9 percent), closely followed by e-commerce (21.4 percent).

“The ongoing increase in social media ad spend is proving to be more than just a pandemic-related bounce-back scenario. More and more brands are relying on social media marketing to engage with their audiences meaningfully and at scale. Social commerce and the formats which support it are also becoming more prevalent as the year goes on. As more brands recognize the value of live streaming and start to leverage more live content to cater to users at different stages of the customer journey,” said Zarnaz Arlia, Chief Marketing Officer, Emplifi.

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While an upward trend in influencer activity was seen both globally and in the Middle East in the second half of 2020 signifying a recovery after the number of sponsored posts dropped dramatically during the beginning of the pandemic, activity has plateaued in the first half of 2021. This drop potentially signifies the end of the recovery period and stabilization of influencer marketing spend. 

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“As more and more consumers begin to expect a brand’s social media channels to facilitate outstanding customer experiences across many stages of the customer journey, the importance of engagement and interaction data is taking on a greater significance. What we’re seeing is that an engaging and responsive social media presence is no longer just a nice-to-have for consumer facing brands, it’s a key point of differentiation,” said Arlia. 

Another important takeaway from the report: social media users are engaging far more with live video than traditional content. In fact, Facebook Live videos – a trend observed both globally and in the Middle East – earned the highest number of organic post interactions and delivered three-times the engagement rates of standard videos, but account for less than 1 percent of branded posts. 

“A strong and engaging social media presence will increasingly impact how brands operate and how well they perform, particularly in the Middle East, with its young, tech-savvy population who leverage social media for everything from shopping to socialising. As the growth of social commerce continues to rise, brands that leverage the opportunities social media presents to offer their customers interactive experience are more likely to win the hearts and minds of consumers and see a stronger impact on their business in the long-term,” said Arlia.

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Overall, the data also suggests that the gap between engagement on Instagram profiles (likes and comments on posts published by brands on their profiles) and Facebook profiles is continuing to widen. In Q2 2020, interactions generated by Instagram profiles were 4.4x higher than on Facebook profiles. This gap has only increased in Q2 2021, reaching 6.35x. The data indicates a similar trend in the Middle East over the past year, with Instagram profiles leading with 5.4x higher engagement compared to Facebook profiles despite having a smaller audience overall.

Qatar Airways was the top performing brand page on Facebook in the Middle East in Q2 with 3,197,457 interactions on 157 posts, while Filimo took the top spot on Instagram, with 5,218,243 interactions on 395 posts. Within the hospitality sector, the top performing profile on Facebook was Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, which saw 215,199 interactions on 99 posts, while Burj Al Arab generated the highest number of interactions on Instagram, with 238,529 on 28 posts.

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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