Market Trends

Written by The Marketing Team November 29, 2018

3 lessons in social media advertising from 2018

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The year is drawing to a close and it’s a good time to reflect on the big trends in social media advertising from 2018. Social media networks are constantly changing and evolving, and the best advertisers keep on top of the trends and adapt with them!

In a recent episode of our weekly Facebook Live, we covered 3 lessons in social media advertising from 2018. Watch the full replay below (16 minutes) or read on below for the same information in text format.

Lesson 1: Interaction is becoming more important, no matter the ad format or network

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 09.51.14There’s no doubt competition is rising on networks like Facebook and Instagram. Every year there are more ads and more advertisers, in what are networks with limited advertising inventory. That means there’s growing competition, rising costs and it’s becoming harder to get your target audience to take the actions you want them to take, on your ads.

Statistics have shown average engagement has trended down over the last couple of years on Facebook, as users get smarter at ignoring advertising that doesn’t grab their attention or compel them to act.

No matter your advertising goal (purchase, lead generation, awareness etc…), getting your target audience to engage with your ads is crucial. Without a ‘moment’ where a user stops to give their full attention to your message, your objective will be difficult to achieve. (8)Facebook is one network that knows the value of interaction and engagement, and that’s why they’ve launched Playable Ads. Originally created as a solution for gaming advertisers, Playable Ads are now proven to be effective for brands in all sorts of industries. The format, employing a creative coded in HTML5, allows advertisers to create a preview of their app or game, which users can play with directly in the Facebook news feed.

Paragone client Audible France successfully tested the innovative ad format. As a seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming, thanks to Facebook Playable Ads, Audible France saw a rise in the number of ‘high-value’ app downloaders. In fact, compared to 5.32% of app downloaders who went on to make a purchase in the app, acquired via Facebook video ad campaigns, the test of Facebook Playable ads saw this conversion rate between install and purchase rise to 6.15%. You can read the full case study on our website.

Lesson 2: Stories are taking over

facebook-stories2The Stories format is expanding across a variety of different networks, and is quickly becoming the ‘default’ sharing format. Recode has called Stories “arguably the fastest growing media format ever”.

There are 400 million daily active users of Instagram stories, and now 150 million on the cloned version available in Facebook. Added to that 450 million people use Whatsapp’s status product, and there are 190 million Snapchat users worldwide.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Stories offerings are now becoming available on YouTube, LinkedIn, Google, Skype and Airbnb to name just a few.

Here at Paragone, we see Stories (and the advertising options available in Stories, across networks) as a major trend and opportunity which has come into full bloom in 2018.

Focussing on ads in Stories on Instagram and Facebook, you might be asking ‘what makes them different and particularly successful?’. Here are 3 quick things that set ads in Instagram and Facebook Stories apart:


Stories take up the full mobile screen – they are fully immersive. Nothing else (apart from your advertising message) is happening on-screen when a user watches your ad in Stories. That means there’s no distraction and your opportunity to effectively communicate your message is amplified.


MMR_Blog_SocialLab-Vans_Header_1440x960The multiple ‘tabs’ available in Carousel ads for Instagram Stories, make telling sequential stories even easier and more powerful for brands. With the Carousel ads for Instagram Stories ad product, advertisers have the opportunity to feature up to 3 pieces of media per ad, where only one is available in regular Instagram Stories ads.

This increases the chance of a user engaging, and allows brands to invite the user deeper into their message and story. Vans and their agency Social.Lab discovered the power of Carousel ads for Instagram Stories, when they ran an A/B test against regular Instagram Stories ads which resulted in a 2x swipe up rate! Read the full case study on our website. 


Stories ads in both Instagram and Facebook appear between clips from a user’s friends. Coupled with the fact that they are immersive, this means smart advertisers are able to fully integrate their message with the user’s overall experience. There’s an opportunity for brands to be more authentic, and become part of a more personal space for users.

MMR_LandingPage_STORIESOur ‘StoryBook’ is your complete guide to the Stories format across social media networks. Download it today for a full overview of Stories, and how to leverage them in your social advertising.

Lesson 3: The power of cross-network online advertising

2018 has highlighted the fact that successful advertisers are thinking about their advertising activities more holistically. They’re making the most of learnings, creating efficiencies and integrating reporting across social networks.

blackpills-logo-featuredOur client blackpills is one example of that, and this year they ran a particularly successful series of campaigns integrating snapchat and facebook advertising to reach a broader audience. Combining the strengths of Facebook and Snapchat, blackpills’ app install campaigns leveraged footage from their exclusive shows, as well as clips from YouTube influencers. Running Snapchat ads alongside a campaign on Facebook meant they were able to reach a younger and deeply engaged audience, at a cost-per-install (CPI) 43% below their initial objective. Read the full case study on our website. 

MMR_Blog_Header_1440x960_ONLINE-ADS-MANIFESTO2Added to the strength of aligning advertising on social, we see real power in thinking holistically about campaigns across social and search. With Facebook’s 2.2 billion users, and the 1.2 trillion searches happening worldwide on Google every year, advertising on both these platforms means you’ve got most of the internet covered!

Combining social and search under one well-defined strategy could help level up your performances. A recent Facebook study suggested that users exposed to both Facebook and search ads went on to complete 19% more site visits from organic search and 10% more site visits from paid, compared to the group that didn’t see Facebook ads. Find out more about this study in our blog post.

Our StoryBook: the ultimate guide to stories

Paragone Guide to Stories

As one of our key social advertising lessons in 2018, mastering advertising in Stories (no matter the social network), is going to be crucial in 2019.

Download our eBook and learn about:

  • What makes the Stories format different to other formats in social media
  • Best practices for Stories ads across each social network
  • Examples of great stories creatives
  • The Paragone Stories Creative Center
  • Tips to success with Stories ads, across social networks.

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