November 02, 2016

Top Social Media Advertising Trends

Globally, social media marketing accounts for 13% of today’s digital ad market at about $26.4 billion US.

Defining Social Media Advertising

social media advertising trendsSocial media advertising leverages the network newsfeed to raise awareness, prompt action or sell products or services. Ads in social and business networks appear can also appear as sponsored posts. Advertisers gain the ability to precisely target specific audiences based on demographics, geographic data, user interest or user behavior within the network.

DYK? Users on some Chinese social media services can customize their profile pages with paid content such as individualized background music or decorative backgrounds.

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Social Media Advertising Market Size

Social media advertising is primarily found in US, China and Europe. Cumulatively these three amount to $22.8 billion or 86% of the total social media advertising market.

On its own the United States generates about $15 billion US in social media advertising revenues, a 19% share of the total digital ad market. Mobile social media advertising revenue in the United States, at about $11 billion US, is more than two and half times the corresponding desktop revenue ($3.6 billion).

Global WebIndex provides the following insights:

Social Advertising Trends

Social Media Advertising Segments

Mobile is the dominant market segment for social media advertising. Mobile share of global media advertising is forecast to reach 81% in 2021 even as desktop stagnates or declines.

Only We Chat in China has monetized messenger applications. Nevertheless, Whatsapp and Facebook, with nearly 1 billion or 0.9 billion users respectively, will surely find ways to monetize.

While in China desktop revenue is rapidly declining, and European desktop revenue is stagnating, there is still 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the U.S. Nevertheless, in the U.S., mobile is growing at 12.8% CAGR.

Factors driving mobile dominance over desktop include:

  • smartphone evolution
  • higher revenue from complex formats such as video
  • quick growth of mobile device penetration globally
  • higher user engagement also supports more advanced user profiling
  • integration of commerce solutions (Buy Buttons, better localization)

77% of mobile searches are made where a desktop PC is available.

Social Media Advertising Platforms

Facebook is dominating the social landscape in the United States and Europe.

Social media advertising

Social Media Advertising Facebook

Social Media Advertising Platforms

Twitter, meanwhile is declining.

Social Media Advertising Twitter

The Pew Research Center analyzed demographic characteristics of four of the dominant social media platforms in the United States.

Social Media Advertising

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Social Media AdvertisingWhat's a Digital Marketer to Do?

Understanding the top social media advertising trends helps keep digital marketers competitive.  There are great opportunities for digital marketers in social media advertising.  Many digital marketers recognize the power of social media for more than just an awareness play. Social media can be used for lead generation, thought leadership, and sales nurturing.

Being aware of the trends is just the beginning. Check out this related reading:
Social Media Advertising Trends Sources:

Buss, S. (2016, July). Digital Advertising: Social Media.
Chaffey, D. (2016, August 8). Global social media research summary 2016.
Duggan, M. (2015, August 19). The Demographics of Social Media Users.