Socialbakers has unveiled its latest Social Media Marketing Trends Report covering 2018 thus far.

In light of the report, Socialbakers’ CEO Yuval Ben-Itzhak said: “While Facebook has made a lot of changes in the first quarter of 2018, which on the surface look like they made it more challenging for brands and publishers to reach and engage their audiences, in fact they present a great opportunity.

For marketers to capitalize on this opportunity, they will need to be more data-driven, better understand their audiences, and experiment with different content types to drive meaningful conversations with communities.”

Facebook News Feed Trends
Since the announcement of the updated Facebook algorithm earlier this year, organic reach has levelled.

Over the course of 2017 brands saw a more prominent decline in engagement in comparison to media pages, but since the updated algorithm, media pages are also experiencing a drop.

Facebook Advertising Trends
This year, brands are spending much less on advertising, but this has opened up a marketing opportunity for Facebook advertisers as costs for ads have also decreased.

Commenting on this, co-founder of Socialbakers, Jan Rezab said: “If you’re a marketer making decisions – what this tells you is that it doesn’t mean you should advertise less on Facebook. In fact, on the contrary; most brands need to still double up on their social media investments, but it means be smart about it.”

The ad objectives surprisingly vary quite significantly between Facebook and Instagram. 41 per cent of ads on Instagram are aimed at driving link clicks (and only 19 per cent use this objective on Facebook) whereas 38 per cent of ads on Facebook are created to drive post engagement.

Ben-Itzhak said: “We found that most of you are actually looking for engagement. The change in the News Feed is all about serving relevant content to the relevant people at the relevant time to inspire conversations.

“Be relevant and be effective, this is the name of the game in 2018.”

Advertising Placement Trends
Majority of Facebook ads still occur in the News Feed with mobile leading just ahead of desktop.

Over the past year the number of ad placements on Instagram has increased by nearly 15 per cent and will likely stay on the uptrend in 2018.

When looking at promoted content by format, video promotion is on rise while photos are steadily declining. It is predicted that in 2018 videos will be the most commonly promoted content type on Facebook for the first time.

Evolution of Facebook Video Formats
Facebook Live is still slow with adoption at only 17 per cent, compared to 86 per cent of brands using native video formats each month. In 2017, two-thirds of brands tried at least one Facebook Live stream but haven’t found a way to make it regular.

Despite low adoption rates, Facebook Live videos have been shown to outperform the traditional video format. The trend is that the shorter the Live video the better.

Business pages usually reach 2.6 per cent of their audiences with traditional videos, but Live allows them to reach 7.3 per cent of their audience (2.77x more users reached).

Ben-Itzhak said: “Marketers should focus on incorporating [Facebook Live] into their strategy today – it’s free and it’s organic.

“You’ll get amazing results for less time and budget spent.”