Paul Korber looks at how last year’s trends will shape social investment for the next 12 months.
As we enter a new financial year, let’s review how social media advertising has forged new growth over the past year and assess how advertisers will be allocating their social media spend over the next 12 months.
Social media advertising is still in its early days when compared to more established channels like search and display. Consider that Facebook and LinkedIn only started offering ads in 2005/2006, while Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest were relatively late to the party, only joining the ad world in 2010.
However, the popularity of social advertising has fast become comparable to that of search and display. Many brands now consider social media ads to be an integral part their marketing mix.
Drawing from Marin Software’s ‘2017 State of Digital Advertising’ report, let’s take a look at the state of social as it stands today.
How will last year’s trends shaping social into the future?
Among surveyed respondents, paid social advertising is nearly equivalent in popularity to paid search advertising. Almost three-quarters (73%) of advertisers invest in paid social advertising on desktop, with 70% of advertisers investing in paid social advertising on mobile.
Facebook was the dominant channel, receiving an average of 65% of advertisers’ paid social media spend. Advertisers from B2C organisations invest the most heavily in Facebook (84% of social spend) whereas advertisers from B2B organisations invest far less by comparison (an average of 45%). It therefore comes as no surprise that Facebook continues to focus on developing an attractive platform for advertisers.
In April 2016, Facebook began testing sponsored messages on its Messenger app, which had until then been un-monetised. In November 2016 it opened the feature to all advertisers.
Information has also been leaked that mid-roll advertisements may soon be coming to Facebook video, which so far has not been monetised heavily. Overall, we expect to see further innovation and developments in Facebook as the year progresses.
While advertising in other social platforms pales in comparison to Facebook, LinkedIn is the second most invested-in social platform. Advertisers spend almost a fifth of their social budget (on average 18%) on LinkedIn— a full 47 percentage points behind Facebook. At 13%, Twitter barely exceeds that of Instagram (12%) or Pinterest (11%).
Advertisers from B2B organisations invest the most heavily in LinkedIn, nominating an average of 37% of their social spend. In comparison, B2C advertisers only invest approximately 6%. Our survey reveals that advertising investment in LinkedIn is expected to ramp up over the next 12 months across both B2C and B2B organisations.
The future of social media investment
As advertisers look to reassess their budgets for the new financial year, it’s obvious that Facebook will be a key focus in new budgets. In fact, 61% of advertisers plan to increase their investment in Facebook.
Instagram and LinkedIn will also experience growth this year with 40% of advertisers planning to expand their spend in both platforms. The increased interest in LinkedIn can be explained in part by the evolution of its Sponsored InMail feature, which opened up to self-service campaigns in late 2016. Nearly half (47%) of B2B advertisers plan to increase social spending on LinkedIn compared to only 20% of B2C advertisers.
Over on Twitter, while 27% of all advertisers are planning to increase their investment, it’s also worth noting that Twitter had the highest percentage of advertisers who plan to decrease their investment in the platform (11%).
In a bid to increase engagement through visually driven social media channels, a growing number of advertisers plan to increase their spend in Snapchat (19%) and Pinterest (16%).
Snapchat in particular has made headway in catering for brands in a commercial sense over the past year with their focus on the ‘3 Vs’—Video, Vertical and Views. They have implemented creative interactive functions that advertisers can build on including custom geofilters and sponsored lenses. While the playful nature of Snapchat won’t hit the mark for every brand, a growing number of advertisers are willing to explore new social media platforms.
This article first appeared in www.marketingmag.com.au
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