Brands Flock to Snapchat While Instagram's Organic Reach Declines

Digital benchmarking firm L2 Inc. releases its fourth annual Intelligence Report: Social Platforms 2017.

The L2 report evaluates the digital strategy and performance of 427 consumer brands with active social media strategies across nine industry verticals including Activewear, Auto, Beauty, Beverages, Consumer Electronics, CPG, Fashion, Retail, Watches & Jewelry. The report addresses social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Periscope, WeChat, and Weibo in the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, and China.

"Social ad spend continues to grow faster than any other ad investment channel and social platforms are racing to keep up with the demand for new, more sophisticated offerings," explained Evan Neufeld, vice president of intelligence for L2. "With the rapid pace of innovation among social platforms, brands must ask themselves how they can use social to extend its impact past brand awareness, converting followers into loyal customers across a wide array of platforms."

Click here to explore L2's interactive visualization depicting how brands leverage social platforms to build awareness, drive retention, and grow sales.

Key findings from L2's report include:

Facebook ad fatigue: While the share of posts promoted by Index brands on Facebook hovered around 16 percent from February to October 2016, average interactions per promoted post decreased 19 percent. Although the proportion of promoted Facebook posts remained constant across all Index brands, CPG and Luxury brands aggressively dialed up Facebook post promotion—promoted posts now account for at least a 1/5 of all Facebook posts in these industries.

Instagram organic reach declines: Instagram remains the dominant engagement platform, accounting for 92 percent of all social interactions. However, changes to its algorithm have led to a decline in organic reach. While post frequency increased from nine posts per week during Q3 2015 to 10 posts per week during Q3 2016, interactions for every 1,000 followers decreased by 30 percent across Index brands.

Twitter replies decline: Sixty-six percent of Index brands use Twitter to provide customer service, but brand replies on the platform are declining. The average number of unique customers to whom Index brands replied on Twitter declined by 15 percent from Q1 to Q3 2016. In some verticals, this decline was even greater: Activewear brand replies declined by 32 percent and Department Stores/CPG brand replies fell by 24 percent.

Brands flock to snapchat: Snapchat brand account adoption grew 50 percent from January to October 2016, increasing overall adoption to 64 percent of brands. Snapchat advertisements also increased—23 brands accounted for 161 Snapchat Discover ads in January 2016, while 63 brands accounted for 387 Snapchat Discover ads in October 2016.

"With no end in sight to the volatility of social platform advertising options, leader brands will be those who continuously iterate and experiment on their social platform strategies to drive brand awareness and consumer engagement across markets," according to Taylor Malmsheimer, senior associate at L2.

The report features case studies on brands including but not limited to: Sephora, Toyota, Coach, H&M, Glossier, Mercedes-Benz, Guess, Fendi.
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