It should come as no surprise that social media and influencer marketing are expected to play larger roles in marketing plans as part of a pandemic-accelerated shift to digital, with a net 70 percent of marketers estimating increased spend on social in 2022, according to the 15th annual Digital Marketing Pulse Survey from Ipsos Canada, the Canadian Marketing Association and strategy. More than nine in 10 (93 percent) marketers and agencies say they use social tactics always or often, even as people resume pre-pandemic behaviors.
“Marketers’ growing reliance on social is due to the effectiveness attributed to this tactic, the ease with which consumers are reachable, and the need of many public companies for short-term results,” says Steve Levy at Ipsos in Canada, in a news release. “We expect to see more resources devoted to paid ads on social, social media content creation, community building and influencer marketing.”
The success of the social marketing reflects consumers’ activities on the channel, which returned to, and in some cases surpassed, 2019 levels. About three-quarters (74 percent) of Canadians visited a social networking site in 2021, up from 69 percent in 2020, and 60 percent are willing to receive information from a social network, a three-year high.
“The public may express some concerns over privacy and safety, but they do little to change their social media behavior,” said Levy.
Influencer marketing is also gaining importance, with nearly four in 10 marketers (39 percent) using influencer marketing always or often, a historic high. Email marketing continues to be strong and, as shoppers return to retail, marketers are again turning to on-premise digital signage.
“The research shows marketers’ resilience and adaptability, even in unprecedented times, to reach their customers,” said John Wiltshire, president and CEO of the Canadian Marketing Association, in the release. “Most consumers today have high expectations that brands will provide them with relevant, personalized offerings, and marketers are diligent in meeting their expectations.”
While the squeeze on Canadian ad agencies persists in 2021, there is a continued appetite to retain some core tactics, largely email marketing, websites, and SEO in house citing accelerated turnaround time and a reduction in costs.
“As marketing leaders face change on so many fronts, relaying how their counterparts are approaching new market realities is a valuable framework for planning. This year’s Pulse check helps us understand how brands are responding to their common challenges—context that marketers are asking us for,” said Lisa Faktor, associate publisher of strategy, in the release.
The Digital Marketing Pulse Survey measures familiarity and usage of 15 digital marketing tactics among client-side marketers and agencies. The study also includes a consumer poll on their perceptions and behaviors. The full report is available to CMA members.