Americans can't get enough of Facebook and Instagram ads

Instagram scrolling is the new holiday shopping, according to a new survey.

Three-quarters of Americans have purchased a holiday gift from a targeted ad they saw on Facebook and Instagram, while close to 3 in 5 shoppers said they turn to social media for inspiration and gift ideas.

Nearly half are planning to purchase something they see on social media, according to new survey data from, an e-commerce analytics company.

“So simply put, that means basically half of consumers out there in your target audience are open to purchasing products they see in social media ads,” said Andreas Stenman, head of industry at, on Yahoo Finance. “Which is pretty amazing.”


Three in five gravitate toward Facebook and Instagram because they serve the most relevant ads, Stenman said.

Mirroring Black Friday sales, social media shoppers stick to the top traditional categories with 17% of users buying apparel and accessories, followed by electronics (15%), beauty and wellness (11%), and home goods (10%) when shopping via targeted advertisements.

People look at products at the World Trade Center Apple Store during a Black Friday sales event in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
NEW YORK: People look at products at the World Trade Center Apple Store during a Black Friday sales event in Manhattan. (Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Shoppers can also expect advertisers to get flashier and craftier when it comes to commanding their attention online.

Brands that yield the best click-to-sale ratios have highly visual images, especially video like Instagram Stories. Compelling video ads beats out other mediums, including customer testimonials and influencer participation, which was once considered a class of internet-culture tastemakers.

“The winning brands are the ones that are planning their creative strategy with these ad formats in mind,” Stenman said.

A brand has just 1.7 seconds to make a strong impression because that’s the length of our attention spans.

“What I do think is more important is how quickly you can get your point across,” Stenman said, “and capture someone’s attention.”

Stephanie is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.

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