Social Media Advertising Beginning to Shift Focus

BY Adam Ambro
Featured image for “Social Media Advertising Beginning to Shift Focus”

Facebook is one of the largest social media outlets, if not the largest, in the world. The platform has been around for nearly 20 years. During that time, there have been so many controversies centered around privacy it’s hard to keep track of, but the social media juggernaut has also seen year over year growth in advertising spent on the site. Whether it be holiday shopping or election season, you’re likely to find dozens of ads appearing on Facebook. Though, due to multiple factors, advertisers are starting to lose trust in the social ad spend.

How much social media advertising dollars is Facebook losing?

Digiday​.com points out that client ad spend dedicated to Facebook and Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook in 2012, declined 5–10% over the last year. The move of advertisers was due in part to the uncertainty around the COVID-​19 pandemic, but also fueled by the desire to advertise on other social media sites like TikTok to appeal to a younger generation.

According to AdMall’s AudienceSCAN profiles for Facebook and TikTok users, powered by SalesFuel, the numbers back up this explanation.

  • 22.2% of the Facebook audience is 35 to 44 years of age
  • 19.3% of Facebook users are 45 to 54 years old
  • Only 12.3% of the Facebook audience is 18 to 24 years old
  • 33.3% of TikTok users are 18 to 24 years old and this age group is 102% more likely to use TikTok vs all U.S. Adults

Is Facebook in trouble?

For now, no. Digiday reached out to Facebook for a comment to see if they were concerned at all about these numbers.

A Facebook spokesperson pointed to the platform’s Q2 2021 earnings call, in which Facebook reported strong business growth and noting that total revenue for Q2 was $29.1 billion, which is a 56% year-​over-​year increase,” wrote Digiday. “According to chief financial officer David Wehner, speaking during Facebook’s most recent earnings call on July 28, the growth was predominately driven by verticals that performed well over the course of the pandemic, like online commerce and consumer packaged goods.”

Facebook has been at the top of the food chain for social media advertising for a long time, but according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, their stagnant growth in terms of users could be a potential issue. Currently, 69% of U.S. adults say they use Facebook. That’s a significant percentage of people, however, that number hasn’t seen any growth since 2016, whereas the biggest gainers are YouTube and Reddit, which have seen almost a 5–10% jump in usage in the last two years alone.

How can Facebook change?

According to The Verge, Facebook has employed hundreds of engineers to rebuild how ads appear to users, with an increased emphasis on privacy. Speaking to the website, one of Facebook’s top ad executives, Graham Mudd, had this to say about small businesses remaining competitive while advertising on the social media site.

"[It is] important for us to build technologies that allow us to maintain the relevance and performance of ads while making meaningful progress on the privacy front; we also have to do it in a way that they can actually implement from a technical complexity perspective without the kinds of expertise that larger advertisers oftentimes have at their disposal.”

These changes mean you can work with your smaller advertisers and reassure them that Facebook is not in any sort of present dangers of losing its advertising advantage. In fact, they’re making necessary changes to make it even easier for small businesses to advertise on the website to keep up with the bigger companies. That said, it’s worth keeping an eye on whether the waning Facebook interest by younger generations and the lack of growth from U.S. adults could be a factor for your clients’ future ad campaigns.

Photo by Firmbee​.com on Unsplash