Marketers are Shifting Their Social Media Ad Spend

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “Marketers are Shifting Their Social Media Ad Spend”

Facebook has long been accepted as the dominant social platform for advertisers, but the pandemic caused marketplace changes. Marketers are shifting their social media ad spend, primarily because consumers spent so much time on their mobile phones in the past year. Tinuiti, a large independent digital performance marketing agency, studied the changes in the social media ad market by reviewing what their key clients are doing. You may want to discuss these trends with your clients.

The Power of Facebook

During the pandemic and social justice-​related turmoil in 2020, advertisers cut back on their Facebook advertising. The social site managed to finish the year with strong metrics:

  • Impressions +21%
  • Spend +12%
  • CPM (-7%)

Keep in mind that the CPM during the early months of the pandemic plunged. Analysts note that ending the year at ‑7% is seen as a solid recovery. Keep in mind that Facebook ended 2020 with ad revenue of $80 billion, a 21% increase over 2019.

Other Social Platforms Are Gaining Strength

Tinuiti’s analysis, based on its clients’ activity, found that in Q4, the number of advertisers using platforms other than Facebook increased as follows:

  • Pinterest +117%
  • Snapchat +67%

While advertisers spend only 9% on Pinterest, compared to their Facebook budgets, they spent 16% as much on Snapchat. The interest in Pinterest overall drove a 76% increase in revenue to $706 million in 2020.

Social Media Ad Types

When your clients advertise on Facebook, how do consumers see the messages? These days, the impressions are almost exclusively delivered by mobile app (92%). Only 5% of the ads are delivered to desktop computers and 3% go to the mobile web.

Marketers also have their choice of ad types in Instagram, the Facebook-​owned site that likely generated over $20 billion in business in 2020. Last year, the visual site increased ad revenue by 33% from Tintuiti clients. In addition, Instagram scored a 20% jump in impressions and a 10% increase in CPM. To get their messages noticed, advertisers paid for the following Instagram ad types:

  • Feed 72%
  • Stories 23%
  • Explore 5%

As users have gravitated to using Facebook on their phones, marketer ad spending has shifted. Facebook feed continues to be the dominant format for marketers. However, with the right column not visible in the mobile app, marketers only spent 0.4% of their ad money on that format in Q4 2020. In-​stream video also dropped from 2% to 1% of spending between Q4 2019 and Q4 2020. Marketers boosted their spending on other Facebook formats late last year. These formats account for the following percentages out of the total:

  • Marketplace 2.7%
  • Instant article 0.9%
  • Video feeds 0.5%
  • Facebook stories 0.4%

Social Media Ad Spend

Your clients may need your help to understand the changing social media ad spend happening in today's marketplace. Once they define the audience they are trying to reach, they can determine which social site will generate the best results for them. AudienceSCAN profiles found in AdMall from SalesFuel show which social sites are most popular with specific audiences. From there, you can work with your client to set goals for their ad campaigns, measure results and shift allocations as necessary to help them increase revenue.