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Middle East Ad Spend on Facebook and Instagram Climbs 33.32% YoY in Q3

Emplifi, a unified customer experience (CX) platform, released its “State of Social Media and CX” report for Q3 2021, offering key insights on social media ad spend, organic social media brand efforts, and CX trends.

According to Emplifi’s most recent data, ad spend on Facebook and Instagram in the Middle East increased 33.32% year-over-year (YoY) during Q3, and by 7.38% between Q2 and Q3. While global ad spend on Facebook and Instagram grew 43.4% YoY during the third quarter of 2021, fueled by a 10.5% growth between Q2 and Q3.

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Emplifi’s report includes both paid and organic social media data findings, covering CPC, CTR, and distribution of ad spend by placement. Trends are broken down by geographic regions and across industries. The report looks at brand engagement based on hashtags, post types, influencer marketing numbers, as well as brand response times on Facebook.

In the Middle East, brand spending on Facebook’s News Feed was 21.48 percentage points higher than spending on Instagram’s News Feed. The increase in Facebook ad investment by marketers represents a clear sign of the times, with ad spend connected to the accommodation industry experiencing 94% growth year-over-year as countries reopen their borders and travel resumes across the globe.

Etihad Airways had the top three performing posts on Facebook, generating 1,605,310 interactions, and Emirates the best performing post on Instagram – their Burj Khalifa stunt which had 402,479 interactions.

Looking at the region by industry, the retail category (19.2%) topped the total interactions of brand pages on Facebook, while on Instagram, the eCommerce category (26.9%) led the way for the total interactions of brand profiles on the platform.

As ad spend increased, advertising costs also continued to climb with Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs) reaching their highest level since late 2020. In the Middle East, the highest CPC was on Facebook Instream Video, while the lowest CPC was on Facebook Video posts, Facebook News Feed, and Instagram Stories.

Meanwhile, advertisers’ Click-Through-Rates (CTRs) have remained stable with only slight fluctuations since this time last year. Emplifi’s data shows Facebook ad reach took a turn in the right direction, climbing 3.7% year-over-year — a slight increase, but a stark contrast to the 12.4% drop reported last quarter.

One of the most interesting findings on the organic side of social media trends shows Facebook Instream Live Videos by brands generated three times more engagement with fans and followers compared to other types of posts globally.

“While it’s true brands are having to invest more of their advertising dollars to reach consumers across social media platforms, there are still massive opportunities for B2C advertisers when it comes to using Live video within their social media marketing and social commerce initiatives. The Middle East market has seen a perpetual growth in the online space, particularly in the past few years” said Emplifi CMO Zarnaz Arlia. “Live video experiences on Facebook and Instagram are giving advertisers a new and fresh way to connect with their primary audiences, offering real-time conversation capabilities that drive measurable eCommerce gains. While some Middle Eastern brands are experimenting with Live, the format remains underutilized across the region.”

Emplifi’s data shows that Facebook Instream Video and Facebook News Feed rank as the top ad placements in CTR for both Facebook and Instagram ads, a notable data point for any brand looking to increase their social commerce efforts. For the brands that do go Live on Facebook, those in the beauty, gambling, and eCommerce industry are generating the highest number of comments and interactions compared to other industries.

“Consumers want a seamless shopping experience, from product discovery through purchase. Social commerce enables brands to sell their products directly in an app where the consumer is already shopping. The brands that understand the value in meeting customers where they are — on social platforms — will gain a significant competitive edge in the coming months,” said Arlia. “This is especially true for the brands that enable features like Live video to create more impactful experiences, and integrate sophisticated CX tools to elevate and enhance the customer journey.”

Overall, Emplifi found that organic social media engagement patterns are shifting, as consumers turn to social platforms more frequently for customer support. As a result, brands are speeding up their response times to customer service inquiries coming in via social platforms. Emplifi’s data shows multiple industries improved their response times on Facebook during Q3 — a definitive move forward as more consumers rely on their social media accounts for customer care.

Report Methodology:

Emplifi’s State of Social Media and CX report looks at global trends in Q3 and uses data downloaded at the beginning of October.