Social Media Forecast for eCommerce Frontline Library
Social Media Forecast
Social media channels when supported by a strong website can serve overseas sales well.

eCommerce Frontline Social Media Forecast

Global Business Social Media Size & Scope

Social media advertising segment shows an average annual growth rate of 18.1%
Global revenue forecast in billions US$ and mobile/desktop distribution

The average growth rate for global social media advertising segment is forecast growth rates around 18.1% per year through 2026, with mobile social media advertising revenue dwarfing desktop social media ad revenue.

This annual global social media growth rate is supported by an increase in average social media spend per user during this same timeframe, indicating stability and long-term potential as a sales channel worldwide. 

Social media ad spend per user worldwide 2017 to 2025
Social network ad spend per network users, worldwide 2017-2025

While the U.S. currently leads in Social media spend worldwide, China shows the highest average growth rate per year of social media advertising spend, with a 13.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2026.

China shows the highest growth in social media advertising with 13.4% CAGR
Revenue forecast in billion US$ and mobile/desktop distribution

Social Media Versus Online Search for Sales

The U.S. currently leads the globe in digital marketing spend, however China in a close second, will soon outspend the rest of the globe to become the lead social media ad spender by 2026. Social media as an ecommerce sales channel is the best way for a company to engage directly with their customer base. However, sales results are dependent on many factors to include civil and cultural unrest in various forms around the world.

Leading markets by social media ad spend worldwide
Leading social media ad markets worldwide 2021, by social media ad spend in millions US$

India leads when it comes to consumer confidence in social media advertising, followed by United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Poland, and Indonesia

Trust in social media advertising according to consumers in select international countries 2021
Trust in social media advertising according to consumers in selected markets worldwide, 2021

Developing a solid digital strategy, to include working with digital marketing service providers, is key to optimizing your overseas online customer acquisition. In the below graph we see international survey respondents primarily use their website for digital marketing, with social media as a secondary preferred channel through which their website URL (primary preference) is promoted. With a website serving as your digital marketing “base of operations”, the question of how best to drive website traffic towards a sale becomes the next hurdle.

Share of marketers using selected marketing channels worldwide
Share of marketers using selected digital channels for their online marketing strategies worldwide as of February 2020

From the graph below we see that the best return on investment for driving website traffic comes from simple organic search, which is double the ROI that you could expect from paid search marketing, and over eight times greater ROI than that of social media advertising. It is important to make sure your website is in good operating condition so that it shows up in these organic search results, so you may want to consider our Website Globalization Review Gap Analysis Service for your international SEO efforts.

Marketing channels with the best return on investment according to small business
Marketing channels with the best return on investment for cross-border ecommerce companies

Social Media Marketing Best Practices

It should be of note however, that while social media is being employed more often over email campaigns as a form of advertising, email campaigns are reported to still be more effective for driving sales according to small business and digital marketers. Make sure you research your target overseas market and are aware of online local consumer privacy protection regulations before you engage in any direct email marketing in a country you want to sell to.

Digital marketing channels most effective according to small business worldwide
Digital marketing channels most effective in driving sales for small business worldwide 2021

For certain industries there are also digital marketing specifics to become familiar with, such as for the Travel & Tourism industry, as well as the Education industry, which will require coordination with digital marketing service providers.

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