A Long List of Social Media Advertising Stats

By Evan LePage

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If you’re looking at the most common topics discussed by social media managers today, it’s probably a toss-up between two things: social media advertising and emojis. One if a collection of yellow faces, random symbols and tacos (finally!), while the other will probably greatly impact your marketing budget in 2016 and beyond. Not that we don’t appreciate a good emoji, but this post is going to tackle the other topic.

It feels like every month a social network unveils a new social media advertising tool. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have long planted their flags in this territory, while Instagram and Snapchat are quickly gaining ground. This explosion in advertising options has left a lot of brands trying hard to play catch-up.

If you’re still not sure why you should put money behind your social media campaigns, we’ve gathered a long list of social media advertising stats that should help motivate you.

Social media advertising usage statistics

Financial Firms Adopt Social Selling

Social media ads only represent about 14 percent of digital ad spending

Here we are, about to unleash a slew of social media advertising statistics, and we choose to start with this one? Sorry to temporarily kill your buzz, but this statistic is important for framing the rest of this conversation. Social media advertising is new and evolving. If you feel like you’re behind, you’re probably not—everyone is only now starting to use these tools, to experiment and learn. Even though social media ads only represent 13.9 percent of digital ad spending, that’s growing, and fast. In fact…

Seventy percent of marketers expected to spend more on social media ads in 2015 than in 2014

That’s no small number. Marketers have recognized that social media advertising is a tool that they’re going to need to understand and use if they’re going to succeed at reaching coveted social media users moving forward. This statistic shows that they’re making a commitment to doing just that.

Social media advertising isn’t only a North American phenomenon either…

In 2015, analysts predicted a 33.5 percent global increase on spending for social media ads

Of course North Americans are heavy users of social media; but so are the people in South America, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa. You get my point. Social media is being used everywhere, and social media advertising is growing everywhere. Regardless of your market, you can find ways to make social advertising work for you. This far reach is probably the reason that…

Social media ad spending is likely to exceed $23 billion in 2015

Image by Pictures of Money under CC BY 2.0
Image by Pictures of Money under CC BY 2.0

That’s a huge, huge number and shows how big of an impact social media advertising has made in an incredibly short period of time. But that’s not even as impressive as the fact that…

Social media ad spending is likely to exceed $35 billion in 2017

The actual number is $35.98 billion if you want to get technical. That represents an increase of almost 13 billion in just two years. Not only that, it means that social media will have maintained consistent growth (of about $6 billion every year) for nearly half a decade. Often these trends rise rapidly in a year or two and plateau. If social media advertising spend continues on that curve, there’s no telling how the industry and tools will evolve.

But that kind of spending must reflect just how expensive the ads themselves are, right? Well, actually…

Over 50 percent of B2B marketers rank social media as a “very” or “somewhat” low cost ad option

A 2014 survey asked 200 B2B marketers to rate the cost of demand generation channels based on the cost per lead. Just over 50 percent of the respondents ranked social media as “very low cost” or “somewhat low cost.” This compares to 42.5 percent for search ads, and 41.7 percent for display ads. The truth is, social media ads are generally quite affordable. Many networks offer you the opportunity to test your content organically before promoting it, so you know you’re giving yourselves the best opportunity to connect with your target audience. Plus, there are countless other way to keep the cost of your social advertising low.

Social media advertising stats by network

Billboard-Social-Advertising2

Twitter advertising revenue totaled $513 million in Q3 of 2015, an increase of 60 percent year-over-year.

Twitter’s earnings report laid it out clearly on the table: More people are turning to Twitter ads than ever before. Twitter was one of the first networks to recognize and capitalize on the potential of social media advertising. In the years since they launched their first ad options, adoption has grown rapidly and steadily. Sixty percent growth year-over-year leaves little doubt that Twitter ads have proven their worth as an effective option for businesses. That may have a little something to do with Twitter’s great focus on mobile…

Mobile advertising revenue accounted for 86 percent of the total Twitter advertising revenue

The future of technology lives in your front pocket. People use smartphones so much today that every business is scrambling to optimize for mobile. Twitter has always been ahead of the game in terms of their mobile app development, and the same is true of their mobile advertising opportunities. It’s quite clear from this stat that mobile is where advertisers want to be, and that Twitter has managed to get them there.

So how do these revenue numbers translate into usage? Well…

By June of 2014 year, nearly 80 percent of US marketers were using promoted Tweets.

How to Write Promoted Tweets to Drive Conversions

Yes the stat is a bit old, but that’s the point. By June of 2014, nearly 80 percent of U.S. marketers were using promoted Tweets. That figure shows the rapid adoption of Twitter ads, but it’s also safe to assume that the number will have increased since then, especially as Twitter expanded its advertising platform. When more than 80 percent of marketers are using a specific tool, you have to believe that they’re garnering some value from doing so. And if you were to look at the data, it would seem to back up this theory.

Promoted Tweets have shown average engagement rates of 1 to 3 percent—much higher than traditional banner ads.

Simply put, Twitter ads drive engagement. They’re targeting options allow you to connect with a very specific audience and provide them with content you’ve tested and know that they are interested in. This all translates into more engagement and more benefits to your business.

While Twitter is one of the social media advertising pioneers, there’s a new player in the game…

Instagram will bring in $595 million in mobile ad revenues worldwide this year

Instagram ads are a fairly new phenomenon, but are not to be underestimated. The social network started partnering up with big brands to test their advertising earlier this year, and the results have clearly turned some heads. In their first year of existence, Instagram ads are going to pull in an impressive $595 million. As a percentage of the estimated $23 billion that will be spent on social media ads as a whole, this might not seem like very much. But consider the following…

Instagram will bring in $2.81 billion in mobile ad revenues by 2017

Image via eMarketer
Image via eMarketer

Not only does that represent a 400 percent increase in revenue from Instagram ads, if forecasts are correct it also represents a seven percent increase in Instagram’s share of Facebook ad revenue, and a five percent increase in Instagram’s share of social media ad revenue. This, as you might expect, reflects Instagram rolling out its ad platform to all users, as opposed to just big brands. But there are also other factors at play.

As a mobile-first social network, Instagram is placed perfectly to capitalize mobile’s growth into the main vehicle of social network usage. Instagram is also most widely used by the next generation of buyers, with 55 percent of users falling between the ages of 18 and 29. With Instagram ads, brands will be able to connect with consumers where they are on mobile, and make an impression right now on young users whose incomes and spending will only increase year after years.

Finally, Instagram ads fit seamlessly into the native browsing experience, probably more so than any other social media ad. In other words, Instagram sounds like an advertisers dream. Still, Instagram ads are a new tool, and haven’t really proven themselves in the long term. But if early results are any indication…

Ad recall from sponsored posts on Instagram was 2.9 times higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising.

In over 475 global campaigns, Nielsen found that ad recall on Instagram exceeded the norms for online advertising by almost three times. In other words, Instagram ads are memorable; they make a lasting impression on the people that see them. That is no easy task in a social media world simply flooded by content. As brands continue to experiment with and discover social media advertising, this statistic should put Instagram ads on everyone’s radar.

In the third quarter of 2015, Facebook brought in $4.3 billion in advertising revenue, up from $2.96 billion the year before

Facebook Ads

Again, Instagram’s estimated $595 million in ad revenue this year is impressive, but let’s not forget who bought who. Facebook reported a remarkable $4.3 billion in advertising revenue in just one quarter. The figure grew by more than a billion dollars year over year—think about what that means for Facebook’s annual ad revenue!

The fact is, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and, because of its widespread usage, many brands are more comfortable experimenting with ads on Facebook than anywhere else. Plus, it has a proven track record when it comes to social media advertising.

On Facebook, desktop ads have 8.1x higher click-through rates and mobile ads have 9.1x higher click-through rates than normal web ads.

Think about that. Facebook joined the advertising game long after display ads and search ads had established themselves as a tool for businesses. In a very short amount of time, the social network was able to create ads that are far less obtrusive and far more effective than their counterparts. Between eight and nine percent higher click through rates should be enough to get you on board with Facebook ads. But this stat doesn’t even bring up the fact that Facebook ads (and, as mentioned above, social media ads in general) are often cheaper than other online alternatives.

Facebook’s impressive ad revenue growth can also be attributed to another factor, namely their increasing role as a leader in social video.

Over 90 percent of advertisers and agencies plan to run Facebook video ads next year

This stat, from a recent report by Mixpo, really shows that Facebook has become the platform of choice for video advertisers. Advertisers and agencies are clearly putting their trust in Facebook for all ad types, even those where Facebook is only now starting to gain a foothold.

planned video use

If you look at the chart, Facebook clearly played second fiddle when it comes to video advertising in the last year. But it has quickly surpassed the video powerhouse that is YouTube in terms of advertising interest.

That’s no small feat considering…

Among YouTube’s top 100 advertisers, the average spend on advertising has increased 60 percent year-over-year

This is an important sign for the video network. Despite all of Facebook gains, those who advertise on YouTube continue to increase their spend. One would imagine that this means the ads are working, and working well. Well enough, at least, to justify a increased allocation of budget to their video ads.

And who are these advertisers?

100 percent of the top 100 global brands have run YouTube ads in the past year

YouTube provided us with this valuable look at just how much respect they have amongst big brands. While Facebook is becoming the video advertising tool for every business, YouTube is is still maintaining—and as we saw above, actually increasing—powerful relationships with the biggest brands in the world.

While we’re on the topic of big brands…

Snapchat’s new Sponsored Selfie Filters, which could cost up to $700,000 per day, are forecasted to reach 16 million viewers daily

Snapchat has a bit of a history of charging the big bucks for ads, and it seems to be working well for them. CEO Evan Spiegel and his team have forecasted that Sponsored Selfie Filters, which essentially allow users to turn their selfies into ads, will reach up to 16 million viewers a day. With the cost of these ads maxing out at $700,000 per day, you can bet Snapchat is turning to the biggest brands in the world, or at least those with huge social media advertising budgets.

Thankfully, there are a multitude of options for the rest of us. If you’re ready to put some money where your content is? Check out our beginner’s guide to social media advertising.

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