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Social Q1 earnings roundup for advertisers: Twitter, Meta, Snap and Pinterest

By James Mortimer | Paid search strategist

iCrossing UK

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May 26, 2022 | 7 min read

Quarterly earnings reports are released at the end of April, letting suppliers in the paid social space reflect on their strategies for the rest of the year. James Mortimer, paid social director at iCrossing UK, considers the social media platforms to invest in throughout 2022.

1. Meta

Q4 2021 was the first time Facebook published its numbers following its Meta rebrand. User growth for the platform was finally declining for the first time in 18 years. This trend was reversed in Q1 2022, with small user growth mainly from Asia-Pacific markets.

iCrossing review the trends to watch in paid social.

iCrossing review the trends to watch in paid social.

Facebook now has 1.96 billion users, which is more people than those identifying as Christian. This growth increased overall revenue, but not as anticipated.

Zuckerberg thought that the 2030s would be the golden era for Meta thanks to its VR developments, prompting user demand to match its efforts. But 20% of all time spent on Instagram is spent on Reels. Reel-style creative is becoming increasingly important. Self-edited, user-generated, raw video creative is very much in vogue for advertisers. Experiment with these formats or you’ll likely be at a disadvantage to the competition in almost every vertical.

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50% of user time across Meta apps is now spent watching video. Socially-optimized video creative should be a part of all paid strategies across Meta’s products.

Meta’s Q1 call was also linked to its Reality Labs division, which builds VR products. It made a loss of nearly $3 billion, putting it on track to beat 2021’s total loss of $10 billion. Reality Labs are developing eye-tracking technology so that facial expressions in VR will accurately reflect user activity. It’s unclear whether this will be available across Meta advertising platforms.

2. Snap

Snap’s Q1 earnings reveal that Snapchat is growing at an astonishing rate. During the pandemic, all social platforms gained more users but Snap has continued growing into 2022 with a 19% uplift in daily active users in Q1 2022.

This increase resulted in a 38% revenue uplift compared with Q1 2021. More brands are investing in the platform. Those working in the e-commerce or consumer goods verticals should consider Snap as part of its media mix.

Snap’s updates are focused on right now rather than what might happen in future. Snapchat has rolled out many innovative and unique AR features over the last year; these are generating serious engagement on the platform. The earnings call revealed that 250 million (75%) of its daily active users interact daily with AR features.

Features like AR Shopping provide Snap’s retail partners with useful tools for reaching customers to exhibit products before buying. Against Meta’s talk of VR developments coming good in the 2030s, Snap’s AR updates more tangibly provide value to brands right now. Expect this trend to continue, with focuses on privacy-focused games and AR in live events.

3. Twitter

Twitter’s Q1 earnings were mostly overshadowed by Elon Musk’s plans to buy and privatize the company, which means this could be the last quarterly earnings report released by the company.

Twitter’s revenues have increased year-on-year by 16%, which is skewed by AppLovin’s acquisition of MoPub in January.

Twitter reports its monetizable daily active users, which shows brands how many users could, potentially, be reached via adverts. For Q1 2022 this figure stands at 229 million, up 15% on Q1 2021.

Last summer, Twitter announced subscription product Twitter Blue. This service allows Australian and Canadian users to pay a monthly $5 fee to access features like Bookmarking Folders and Reader Mode; and monetize content via subscribers. Revenue from this service was down 31% year-on-year. There was a lot of speculation that this service would let users remove advertising from their feeds; results suggest this initiative has not been as successful as anticipated.

4. Pinterest

Many users turned to Pinterest during the pandemic, looking for home improvement inspiration and home schooling ideas. Following the removal of global Covid-19 restrictions, Pinterest has seen a dip in users with 2022 Q1 daily active users down 9%.

But Pinterest's revenue increased year-on-year by 18%. This growth in ad sales was driven predominantly by retail businesses advertising on the platform, propped up by the Shopping API tool which enables brands to send real-time data from product feeds, so users can see their latest information right away.

Pinterest has driven growth and engagement through video. Video pins have been growing 15x over the last year, highlighting the importance of well-designed and socially-optimized video for each platform.

Following Apple’s iOS updates, Pinterest has built developments to work around Apple’s attribution issues. It launched a beta of Your Shop, allowing customers to checkout directly in Pinterest, so sales can easily be attributed to media spend. This is similar to what Facebook does with Shops.

Video remains king on all social platforms. If you are not producing well-optimized and designed social creative for your ads, you will fall behind your competitors.

Modern Marketing Agency

Content by The Drum Network member:

iCrossing is a digital marketing agency that works with businesses to create a real step-change. Setting it apart, iCrossing is owned by Hearst, the world’s largest independent media, entertainment and content company. Being part of the Hearst family gives iCrossing access to Hearst audiences, data, consumer research and category experts which allows iCrossing to better spot new insights, trends and inform direction for its clients.

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