Global social media ad spend increased by 56.4% in the third quarter versus the three months previous, taking average spend close to double that recorded during the pandemic trough of late March.
That's according to the latest trends report from Socialbakers, which showed that North America led the way with spending up 61.7% while across the pond the UK benefited from a 43% uplift as brands spent more in Q3 2020 than they did in Q3 2019.
Average industry ad spend increased by 38.9% in Q3, with significant jumps recorded by categories such as FMCG food (up 61.3%), auto (up 59.4%), finance (up 35.3%) and e-commerce (up 27.5%).
CPC reaches its highest point since 2019
Cost per click rose 42.4% in the third quarter to $0.168 versus where it stood in June, the highest figure recorded since the end of last year.
Sharp increases were registered across the globe with Latin America rising by a healthy 44.8% and Europe jumping 30.8%, leaving North America lagging somewhat at growth of 19.5%.
Across all brand accounts, CPC rose by 32.1% to $0.140, the highest level recorded since December 2019.
In Britain the closely watched CPC value stood at 0.339 in September, a 5% rise on the equivalent figure recorded a year before.
Instagram continues to dominate
Instagram continues to throw shade on its bigger brother Facebook with the audience reach of Instagram's 50 largest brand profiles standing 34.7% higher than those on Facebook.
This difference evaporates in the UK where both platforms are on level pegging but Instagram does enjoy significantly higher levels of engagement, generating a whopping 22 times more interactions.
Despite this numerical advantage, a majority of all brand posts (61.9%) were published on Facebook over the quarter, with Facebook's global ad reach increasing on average by 12.3%.
Daily news and NGOs see major spikes in interactions
A glut of pandemic and election reporting has seen the daily news and non-governmental organisation industries register jumps in engagement with the former up 103.3% and 57.8% on Facebook and Instagram respectively.
NGO interactions also headed north, increasing by 112.9% on Facebook and 31.2% on Instagram.
While trends were generally positive an interesting divergence of performance can be seen in the travel sector where interactions rose by 60.9% on Facebook yet fell 31.2% on Instagram.
Commerce brands continue to draw the lions share of Facebook interactions in the UK at 44.3%, ahead of the 36.8% recorded in the second quarter of 2020.
Fashion brands continue to make Instagram their own with Oh Polly commanding 18,400,000 interactions, followed by an impressive 11,800,000 interactions for Pretty Little Thing and 11,400,000 for Missguided.
Facebook Live and longer videos are top performers
On Instagram, it was a different story with carousel ads that incorporate both images and video proving to be the most engaging format over the third quarter.
Unfortunately, organic interactions declined across all formats on Instagram over the three months with only Facebook Live recording an increase on Facebook. Other formats remained flat versus the second quarter.
Long and very long format videos were the top-performing formats in terms of both reach and interactions on Facebook, with videos of 5 minutes achieving a 70.4% higher reach than merely 'long' videos.
These headline figures disguise a decline in performance of long videos over the past seven months with videos of between 1 and 5 minutes scoring the top performance index at 23.2%.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief exec at Socialbakers, said: "If Q3's insights show us anything, it's that brands need to make sure they pivot quickly to follow the consumer trends towards digital. The brands that react quickly today and focus on delivering an outstanding customer experience to their audience online will be the brands that come out on top tomorrow."