Social Media Advertising Stats that Matter to Marketers in 2018

By Paige Cooper

Social

Image by Ernesto Pletsch under CC BY 2.0

These social media advertising statistics will inspire you to start your own campaigns (if you haven’t already). Learn how people are consuming ads across social networks, and how advertisers are connecting with the audience with increasingly relevant and targeted content.

Bonus: Download a free guide that shows you how to get the most out of your Facebook ad budget. Learn the tricks and tactics that will stretch your advertising dollars and improve ROI.

General social media advertising statistics

We all have to justify our budgets. The value of social media advertising can be hard to pin down, depending on which metrics you want to use (or how hard you squint).

But the latest numbers show that as ads get more relevant, users are turning to social media for purchasing research and inspiration. Even better, they’re taking action while they’re here.

A million new social media users are ‘born’ every day

As of 2018, there are 3.196 billion people using social media on the planet, up 13 percent from 2017 to 2018.

And there’s still room for growth

Seventy percent of people use social media daily in North America, but social media penetration is still at 42 percent globally.
People are spending more time on their feeds

On average, people around the world spend two hours and 15 minutes every day on social media, which is one out of every three minutes spent online.

In fact, people are spending more time on social than watching TV

Fifteen minutes more, to be precise. On average, 50 percent of people use Facebook daily, while only 39 percent watch television.

Ad revenue is up

Social media advertising revenue is forecast at $51.3 billion USD for 2018. That’s $17.24 per user. Revenue is set to grow 10.5 percent annually.

Budgets will double over the next five years

According to the latest CMO survey, social media advertising budgets are predicted to increase by 32 percent in 2018, and almost double by 2023.

Video spending is way up

In 2017, social video advertising spending leapt 130 percent compared to 2016. Forty-six percent of respondents in Hootsuite’s annual customer survey said they are already implementing social videos, with another 26 percent planning to implement at some point in 2018.

People want to be entertained and informed

The top four reasons people say they use social media are:

  1. To stay in touch with friends (41 percent)
    To stay updated on current events (40 percent)
    To fill up spare time (39 percent)
    To find entertaining content (37 percent)

And they also want to buy stuff

The number eight reason people use social media? Research new products to buy.

Intrusive and irrelevant ads are easy to ignore

Forty-five percent of Americans used ad-blockers in 2017, though they may not use them all the time or on every device. China is blocking the most ads at 54 percent of users, but only 18 percent of users in Japan do. Meanwhile, 50 percent of people think ignoring online ads is easy.

The ads on social media are relevant to the people that see them

Fifty percent of Gen Z (18- and 19-year-olds) and 42 percent of millennials (20- to 36-year-olds) think social media is the most relevant channel for ads, according to Adobe’s State of Digital Advertising 2018 report. Meanwhile, everyone over the age of 37 thinks TV ads are more relevant, but they still rank social media second.

Across age groups, 35 percent of women and 22 percent of men identify social media as the most relevant channel for advertising.

Young people especially think ads are getting even more relevant

Fifty-seven percent of millennials and 45 percent of Gen Z—the demographics most likely to be on social media—agree that the ads they see are getting more relevant.

But marketers are still struggling to prove value

According to Altimeter, 84 percent of social marketers track and measure the effectiveness of social media efforts against defined goals and objectives, yet 29 percent are still trying to prove its value.

This makes sense given the disconnect between platforms’ return on investment (ROI) metrics like reach or engagement, and more complex business outcomes like reputation, customer insight and loyalty growth, which are tougher to measure. For a pragmatic approach based on interviews with hundreds of social media leaders, check out our comprehensive guide to social media ROI.

Social media users are primed for discovery

PwC’s Total Retail 2017 survey concluded that 59 percent of global consumers use social media as a source of inspiration for purchases; 34 percent of global consumers use social platforms to receive promotional offers; and 16 percent of global consumers will click on an ad that is relevant to them.

Meanwhile, Adobe Analytics says that social media ads drive three times more non-customers than existing customers to retailer websites as of 2018. This is up from 2.5 times in 2016.

They want to see brands in real life with real people

Fifty percent of US consumers say user-generated content—images and video from satisfied buyers—makes them more likely to buy a product from a brand’s social media channels.

Social media users are clicking the ‘buy’ button

Curalate found that 76 percent of U.S. consumers have purchased a product they’ve seen in a brand’s social media post. But your conversion rates might not show it: 65 percent of these people purchased the product at a later date. And 20 percent of them bought in-store, meaning social is sending foot traffic to brick-and-mortar.

Instagram advertising statistics

Only 11 percent of people around the world are on Instagram, but given the platform’s popularity with teens and millennials, that number is set to skyrocket.

Businesses are flocking to Instagram

As of September 2017, the platform had 2 million active advertisers (double what it was six months prior, in March 2017). Similarly, from July to November 2017 business profiles went from 15 to 25 million, out of 800 million users overall.

Accordingly, eMarketer predicts that Instagram will earn $5.5 billion in ad revenue in 2018, claiming five percent of the US digital ad market.

Users are keen on businesses

200 million users visit at least one business profile page every day; and two-thirds of those visits are from people who don’t follow said profiles (yet!).

Social video is hot like fire

Instagram launched Stories in 2016, and now 300 million accounts use Stories daily. Chalk it up to increased mobile usage, shorter attention spans, or the thrill of novelty, but social video is what the people want.

According to Instagram, there’s been an 80 percent increase in time spent watching video from 2016 to 2017. So it makes sense that 62 percent of marketers are planning to increase their social video spend in 2018.

Marketers are making really great Stories

Instagram reports that one-third of the top-viewed Stories are made by business accounts, and one in five Stories receive a direct message from viewers.

Even more telling: 60 percent of Instagram Stories video ads were viewed with the sound on in 2017. Compare that to Facebook’s seven percent (more on that below).

Stories ads keep getting better

Instagram wants their Stories ads to be as robust as their feed ads, so new features are added all the time—like scheduling or Carousel ads. The former has historically driven 30 to 50 percent lower cost-per-conversion and 20 to 30 percent lower cost-per-click than single-image link ads).

Instagram’s users want to chat

More than 150 million users have a conversation with businesses through Instagram Direct each month. One third of those messages start with an Instagram Story. This lines up with Instagram’s stated goal of increasing conversion naturally, using messaging and improved calls-to-action.

Facebook advertising statistics

The Facebook algorithm is undergoing big changes in 2018. Everyone’s wondering what, exactly, that’s going to mean for Facebook’s 6 million advertisers.

Facebook is still gaining users

With 2.2 billion monthly active users, (up 15 percent since 2017) advertisers can rest assured that Facebook is still the world’s social media heavyweight.

Advertisers are increasing spends

By the end of 2017, Facebook advertisers increased their spending 49 percent, to just shy of $40 billion. That growth stayed steady through the tumultuous first quarter of 2018, with ad revenues still up 50 percent at $11.8 billion. And remember that around 90 percent of those ads are mobile.

Advertisers are focusing on video

Thanks primarily to Facebook and WhatsApp, says eMarketer, mobile video viewing will rise 11.9 percent in 2018 to 1.87 billion viewers. Traditional advertisers are paying attention to those numbers: Facebook reported that during the 2018 Super Bowl, for instance, 90 percent of national TV advertisers were also advertising on Facebook.

Users are seeing Facebook videos

In April 2017, the average video post reached 12 percent of the total page audience. In contrast, photos reached 11.63 percent of the audience, links reached 7.81 percent, and text-only status updates reached 4.56 percent.

Bonus: Download a free guide that shows you how to get the most out of your Facebook ad budget. Learn the tricks and tactics that will stretch your advertising dollars and improve ROI.

That number jumps to 16 percent reach if we only look at native Facebook video, which, on average, gets 62 percent more reach than an old-school YouTube link.

But attention span is down

According to Locowise’s State of Facebook Video report for 2017, the average length of a video post went from 0:55 minutes in 2016 to 3:48 in 2017. That’s a big jump, but Facebook said at F8 2018 that longer video isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Substantial, valuable content that people talk about and come back to will be prioritized by the algorithm.

Alas, attention spans suffered in 2017. Average time watched went from 18 seconds down to 10. As well, only seven percent of videos were played with sound on, which is a 68 percent decrease since the previous Locowise study.

If users are scrolling by as videos silently auto-play, marketers will need to focus on quality to capture not just attention, but loyalty too.

Users are paying attention to quality productions

29 percent of Facebook videos in the Locowise study hit the thirty-second view mark (mid-roll ads won’t appear unless a user’s watched at least twenty seconds). And 16 percent of these videos convinced viewers to turn the sound on.

Facebook says that 70 percent of mid-roll ad breaks (up to 15 seconds) on Facebook and Facebook Audience Network are viewed to completion. Meaning that if the content is worth it, viewers will stay focused.

Also, Facebook plays pre-roll ads whenever a user seeks out a video—you know, actively searches for it because a friend told them to, or because it was just that good. (I’m looking at you, Kyrgyz conductor baby).

And they’re engaging with live video especially

Video is key to Facebook’s push towards connection over consumption. A study by L2 found that engagement with live video in 2017 was 25 percent higher than engagement with video overall.

Facebook itself says that Facebook Live broadcasts have six times more interactions than typical video content.

Facebook users are seeing products they want

The average user clicks on 10 Facebook ads every month, and for female-identified users that number bumps up to 12.

Fifty-two percent of American consumers say they’ve seen a product they’re interested in on Facebook in the last three months. If we look at the kids (18- to 34-year-olds ), 78 percent have seen interesting products.

And they’re more likely to buy those products

Nearly 48 percent of American social media users say Facebook was the last platform on which they made a purchase. This number dwarfs the next runner-up: Instagram at 8.6 percent

But Facebook ads can be tough to get right

Eight-nine percent of small business owners use Facebook to promote their business, according to a survey by Weebly. But a lot of them are having trouble with their ads. Sixty-two percent described their Facebook ads as missing the target and providing poor-quality leads or low conversion. (We’ve all been there: you can always check out our Facebook ad strategy guide for extra help!)

Especially when organic reach and engagement is declining

Engagement with brand posts declined 20 percent in the first half of 2017, according to Buzzsumo. (Video posts, however, boasted twice the levels of engagement of other types, and had the smallest decline in engagement overall.)

Meanwhile, the average organic Facebook page post reaches eight percent of a Page’s audience, according to our Digital in 2018 report. (Paid reach, by comparison, hits 26.8 percent of the total audience).

Ad costs are going up

Just for reference: Adespresso’s analysis of 100 million dollars of Facebook ad spend found that the average cost per click in the US was $0.27 at the end of 2016.

According to Facebook’s latest quarterly report, the average price per ad increased 39 percent but the number of ad impressions served only increased 8 percent.

But Messenger ads are a cheap and effective option

According to Nielsen’s Facebook Messaging Survey, 53 percent of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly. 18 million businesses are already communicating through Facebook Messenger, and customers and businesses are sending each other 2 billion messages every month.

Facebook recommends that brands add Messenger ads to their campaigns. Internal tests are already showing an eight percent increase in reach and seven percent decrease in cost.

Twitter advertising statistics

Twitter’s not the biggest platform on the block, but it punches above its weight. With less ad saturation than major competitors and rising engagement levels, it has the potential to be a valuable platform for your campaigns.

Twitter audiences are small, but engaged

Twitter has 336 million monthly active users. Forty-six percent of American Twitter users access the site daily, with daily active usage increasing at 10 percent from 2017 to 2018.

Twitter’s users are curious and vocal about businesses

Twitter views its core purpose as keeping people informed. Recently, 66.4 percent of surveyed Twitter users said they’d discovered a small-or-medium-sized business on Twitter, and 78.5 percent said they’d tweeted at a business. Most importantly, a whopping 93.3 percent said they plan to purchase from a business they follow.

Users are watching video

According to Twitter’s internal data, video views in the past 12 months have increased 220 times, and Twitter ranks as the number one platform for coming across video (rather than seeking out something specific). The potential for delight—and conversion—is high here.

More importantly, they’re watching video they care about

Compared to the online average, Twitter’s video content has seen a 53 percent increase in personal relevance, and an 80 percent lift in memory encoding (a.k.a. ad recall). This translates to a 34 percent lift in purchase intent.

Even more importantly, users are watching ads they care about

In a recent survey, conducted by IPG Mediabrands, 73 percent of Twitter users agreed that ads on their feeds were informative, while 67 percent said ads were not intrusive and were in fact relevant to their interests.

These numbers actually bounced up four points when ads were placed lower down in the feed rather than tucked into that premium “first view” slot. That said, ads paying for first view get significantly more screen-time than lower-placed ads.

Accordingly, 52 percent of marketers are planning on increasing their Twitter video spend in 2018.

Twitter’s engagement is up and cost is down

In Q1 2018, more than half of Twitter’s ad revenue came from video, and according to their quarterly report, cost per engagement was down 28 percent, while ad engagement was up 69 percent. What’s not to like?

Snapchat advertising statistics

It’s been a bumpy few quarters for Snapchat, but it turns out that teenagers don’t care much about what Wall Street thinks. Snapchat still owns that highly desirable demographic. Combine that with its natural sense of urgency and impressive ability to capture user attention—there’s a lot for marketers to like.

Snapchat is still growing

191 million daily users (a 15 percent increase from 2017 to 2018) spend more than 30 minutes per day on the platform, on average.

Teenagers are so not over it

Snapchat is the favorite platform of 45 percent of teens according to 2018’s Taking Stock With Teens survey. Compare that to Instagram, which rose two points to 26 percent. Meanwhile, Facebook declined slightly to eight percent and Twitter made a slight recovery to nine percent.

Users are creating, not just consuming

Snapchat users watch 10 billion videos per day, on average (that’s four times what it was in 2017). A full 60 percent of users create content every day.

Snapchat ads capture user attention really, really well

In Mediascience’s testing, Snapchat video ads were found to command as much visual attention as TV ads. That’s two times as much as Facebook, 1.5 times as much as Instagram, and 1.3 times as much as YouTube. They also evoked the most emotional response, as compared to all other platforms: a 2.0 electrodermal response versus TV’s last-place 0.2.

Snapchat video ads also double purchase intent, compared to TV and YouTube. That’s almost four times as much as a Facebook ad, by the way.

Snapchat users will take action

Snapchat’s strength may well be direct-response marketing, as opposed to more generalized brand awareness campaigns.

Travel search engine Skyscanner reports that when it ran localized video ads (featuring the most popular holiday destination in any given market), app downloads doubled, while cost per impression decreased three times.

LinkedIn advertising statistics

The genius thing about LinkedIn is that its audience has already self-selected as educated and business-minded. It’s the obvious choice for B2B marketers looking to find valuable leads and make sales, but you’re going to need high-quality content to capture this market’s valuable attention.

LinkedIn users have a lot of pull

LinkedIn has 562 million users, making it the world’s largest professional network. Fifty percent of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn (compared to nine percent with a high school diploma or less).

Even LinkedIn’s sub-categories of users are impressive: 61 million senior-level influencers, 40 million decision-makers, 6 million C-level executives. This is a premium audience working in a professional mindset, and they’re eager to listen.

LinkedIn users are ready to listen

Forty-seven percent of B2B marketers are focused on delivering quality leads as their top priority (and top challenge), according to Demandwave’s 2017 State of B2B Digital Marketing survey. And guess what? LinkedIn is the number one social platform for lead generation.

LinkedIn is for content marketers

Ninety-four percent of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, and it’s a busy place: LinkedIn boasts 15 times more content impressions than job postings.

LinkedIn is a safe space for your brand

According to GumGum & Digiday’s latest poll on brand safety, LinkedIn is considered to be the safest platform for digital advertisers’ brands, allowing advertisers to sleep at night knowing their ads aren’t going to show up in a tone-deaf or inappropriate context.

LinkedIn is under-appreciated

While only 38 percent of marketers posted video content on LinkedIn, 75 percent of them found it to be effective, according to a recent survey by Wyzowl.

Bonus: Download a free guide that shows you how to get the most out of your Facebook ad budget. Learn the tricks and tactics that will stretch your advertising dollars and improve ROI.

YouTube advertising statistics

YouTube is half of the internet’s advertising duopoly, and we all know it’s for good reason. With video’s rise, YouTube’s offering is clear: a vast audience that wants informative, entertaining content. Even better: the numbers show they’re paying attention.

YouTube is big

YouTube has a billion users (that’s a third of the internet). Ninety percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in the US, and 73 percent of Americans in general watch video on the platform. One billion hours of video every day, actually. YouTube reaches more American adults than any cable network in an average month.

YouTube is mobile

Half of YouTube’s billion hours of viewing every day are on mobile. The average mobile viewing session is more than 40 minutes. Just on mobile, more 18- to 14-year-olds in America are watching YouTube during prime time than are watching the top 10 prime-time shows combined.

Marketers love YouTube

Nearly 79 percent of marketers think that YouTube is the most effective platform for video marketing. Just over half of the U.S. marketers that eMarketer surveyed devote part of their budget to video ads on YouTube.

And they’re happy about it. Seventy-nine percent of them are confident that their YouTube video content will drive purchases. They are also feeling confident about their videos’ ability to court engagement, at 81 percent, and views, at 84 percent.

Marketers like YouTube so much that they’re increasing their spends

It’s no surprise, then, that YouTube currently gets 27 percent of all digital video ad spending in the U.S. Even so, 62 percent of marketers expect to increase their budget in 2018.

I mean, who doesn’t dream about hitting YouTube’s Ad Leaderboard? In 2017, the top 10 ads generated 539 million views, or 14 million hours of watch time.

YouTube’s ads are for B2C, too

Eighty-two percent of B2C marketers versus 81 percent of B2B marketers value YouTube as an advertising platform.

Meanwhile, twice as many small- and medium-sized businesses are advertising on YouTube in 2018 than they were in 2016 ago.

Viewers are paying attention

According to an eye-tracking study by Ipsos-Reid, mobile YouTube ads keep viewers’ attention much better than television. Only 45 percent of TV ads receive attention, while paid YouTube mobile advertising receives 83 percent. TV viewers are also twice as likely to multitask when the ads run (26 percent versus only 12 percent for YouTube mobile).

And they’re listening, too

95 percent of YouTube ads are watched with the sound on, according to internal data. This results in a 1.6 times lift in brand awareness, and a 1.4 times lift in brand recall.

Viewers who see an ad will engage with the brand

Internal data shows that YouTube viewers who’ve seen an ad are 10 times more likely to visit that brand’s channel, and then go ahead and watch more videos.

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