What were some of the key paid social trends for the 2015 holiday season? At Kenshoo, we have unwrapped data across both the paid search and paid social channels for eCommerce advertisers in the U.S. (and a bit in the U.K.) for our annual holiday retail report, but let’s take some time to zero in on what agile marketers saw in their social campaigns.

Overall, we saw that paid social spending increased +61% versus last year for the same period when we looked across advertisers who were active in both 2014 and 2015. New product-focused ad types in the social channel, on both Facebook and Instagram, saw widespread adoption among digital retailers. Higher Average Order Size for Dynamic Product Ads, in particular, helped drive advertiser sales volume to more than double that of last year, as well as push the overall ROI for the paid social channel up 33%.

Social YOY Holiday Metrics

The basic contours of the seasonal spending are quite similar to what the report showed for paid search. In the next chart, we see social spending peak on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and then maintain higher levels of spending than were seen before the Thanksgiving holiday. The main difference is that after the Thanksgiving weekend, social spending settled in at a higher daily rate than search, relative to those holiday peaks.

search v social holiday spending

One major development this year in social marketing is the introduction of new ad types that are very retail-focused. Dynamic Product Ads on Facebook and their counterparts among the more widely available Instagram ads have given eCommerce advertisers more targeted vehicles for reaching their consumers. For the months of November and December, Dynamic Product Ads accounted for 6.5% of total social spend among all U.S. eCommerce advertisers, and 14% of advertiser sales revenue.

DPA Share Holiday 2015

One key driver of the larger share of sales is that DPA drive a much higher average order size than other social ad types.

AOV DPA

As the holiday season has shown, these new ad types and formats are providing retailers more (and better) ways to showcase their wares to their customers in engaging ways. Kenshoo will continue to monitor these developments and changes in order to help marketers become more agile in their campaigns across this and other key digital channels.

For the full holiday season findings across both social and search, download the 2015 Online Retail Seasonal Report.