Frederike

esome Social Advertising Price Index Q4|2015

esome publishes the social media price index for the fourth quarter in 2015. The index represents price developments of the previous quarters and operates as benchmark due to advertising campaigns implemented by esome.

Christmas trade always intensifies the combat for consumers attention and purchasing power. In social media advertising this is indicated by rising CPMs in Q4/2015. At the same time users seem to be more active in the festive season, shown by growing CTRs and decreasing CPCs. Learn more about the developments across the different placements and also for different industries.

The data for this price index has been aggregated from over 170 clients advertising in the German market spanning all major industries.

Only data where a specific placement has been targeted has been included. Campaigns which targeted multiple placements (e.g. “Feed” or “Desktop”) are not included.

Data from Q4/2014 serves as the basis and all subsequent quarters have been normalized against Q4/2014.

The method for calculating the price evolution has changed since we first released our data for the previous quarter. Initially, we decided to give each client the same weight in calculating the price, regardless of their spending. However, this approach turned out to overly influence a client’s particularities and in the end did not necessarily correlate with the entire market’s evolution, thus skewing our findings. We additionally weighted the price evolution based on the client’s spend level to find more accurate results.

Mobile News Feed

As prognosticated in our last Price Index both CPM and CPC on mobile increased significantly in Q4 compared to Q3 (29 percent points more in case of CPM and a 12% more CPC compared to Q3/2015), but actually not in the predicted dimension. The rise in prices is a result of the greater demand for advertising inventory at the end of the year due to Christmas trade and ending fiscal years in many companies. However, the growth in mobile reach has been so high that the prices did not rise as much as expected. In the second half of 2015 the number of users who logged in on Facebook via mobile devices grew by nearly 10%.

To this we can see, that the CTR is 0.2 percent points higher than in the third quarter of 2015, which indicates a reduction of the relative costs per click and also for reach. The increasing CTR results from the higher usage of interactive ad formats such as video ads and carousel ads which are more attractive to users. Additionally, more and more websites are being optimized for mobile devices favoring the click on a link on your smartphone or tablet and thus pushing the CTR.

Our internal data shows that spends on mobile Facebook ads in Q4 have been three times higher in Year-on-Year (YoY) comparison.

Desktop News Feed

Although total spends on Desktop News Feed grew slightly in Q4, this placement has the lowest share of overall investments of all time by now. Absolut spends on Desktop News Feed have ranged in similar dimensions over the course of the past year while overall spends on Facebook advertising increased steadily.

At the same time the CPM has reached an all-time high in Q4: due to the raising demand by the end of the year the CPM for desktop ads increased to a level even 24 percent higher than in Q4/2014. Similar to Mobile Feed, CPCs increased in the past quarter but also CTR grew because of a higher acceptance of the used advertising formats.

Right Hand Side

In contrast to the rising CTR on all other Facebook placements, right hand side apparently lacks attractiveness: in Q4 the CTR sank to 80% of the Q3 value. This might be related to the intensified use of more attention drawing ad formats in Desktop Feed like video ads. Similar to Desktop Feed the CPM for right hand side reached the highest value so far and lies 165% above the level of Q4/2014, as predicted. Compared to Q3 the right hand side CPC rose as well but did not exceed the level of Q4/2014.

Instagram

Instagram has definitely arrived in the relevant set of important social advertising platforms in advertisers’ minds. According to our data Instagram spends in Q4/2015 have grown tremendously since opening the platform for advertisers in October. Time will show whether this intent to enter the new advertising environment has only been encouraged by the opportunities of bigger marketing budgets in Q4 or whether advertisers see Instagram as a relevant channel for constant ad distribution.

Also Instagram users have noticed the grown advertising efforts on the platform and seem to distinguish between ads and organic posts, illustrated by a considerably lower CTR compared to Q3. At the same time the CPC on Instagram increased tremendously caused by both the growing competition on the platform and the decreasing intent of users to click on ads.

Meanwhile, Instagram users generally could be reached at a lower price. The potential reach on Instagram in Q4/2015 was apparently high enough to cover the advertisers’ demand, because we have a lower CPM as in Q3/2015 in spite of the higher spends in this channel.

Industries

As announced in the last price index, we will prospectively break down performance developments to other interesting dimensions, starting with trends from the Telco and Automotive industry based on internal data.

The development in the Telco industry differs from the overall behaviour of Social Media performance. While we can observe a similar CPM trend compared to the whole market, Telco ads show a lower CTR than in Q3/2015 instead. The reason for this is the high share of Instagram budgets, so that the CTR for this social media channel impacts the overall result for the Telco performance. Compared to other industries the CPC did not increase as significantly from Q3 to Q4 (+24%) and even decreased by 50 percent in the YoY comparison.

In the Automotive industry an even stronger CPC-decrease in the YoY comparison can be observed – the cost per click went down by 84% compared with Q4/2014. Besides CPC also CPM could be lowered in the course of the year though absolute spends went up. In this industry interactive ad formats have been used actively, video ads in particular. However the CTR fluctuated over the year and did not show a steady development.

Outlook

In the last quarter of 2015 and especially in the Christmas season we have had a huge raise of budgets spent in Social Media (+76% versus Q3/2015). In the beginning of 2016 this high demand for advertising inventory in Social Media will, given the comparison between Q4/2014 and Q1/2015,  decrease to about 60% of the Q4/2015 value. This will also effect the CPM, which we expect to be lower both on Facebook and Instagram in Q1/2016.

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