These 8 New Stats Show Digital Advertising’s Growing Pains as Social Platforms Boom

Viewability and brand safety problems persist

The online marketing industry is like a statistical minefield nowadays.
Getty Images

The digital ad industry is both maturing (social networks are exploding) and experiencing growing pains (viewability issues and brand safety problems) like never before. This week’s version of Adweek’s intriguing digital marketing stats includes numbers that seemingly work together to underscore that reality unusually well.

Check out the eight data points that grabbed our attention in the last few days:

1. The buck stops here
At Dmexco, the two-day marketing conference in Cologne, Germany, Adweek senior editor Lauren Johnson reported on Wednesday that Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard revealed that his packaged-good giant’s stats show the average digital ad is viewed for 1.7 seconds. He stated just 20 percent of ads are viewed for two seconds, the minimum standard for viewability, according to the Media Rating Council. After seeing this data, his company stopped spending money on 30-second digital ads, he said.

2. Intelligent retail
Let’s move onto more positive stuff. Trunk Club, an apparel subscription service owned by Nordstrom, has increased Pinterest engagement by more than 100 percent in recent months by embedding artificial intelligence into its digital images marketing.

“We are trying to understand how one pair of jeans plays out against another pair that was released in another season,” explained Justin Hughes, vp of product development and design at Trunk Club. “We want to get really granular and understand what really works.”

Read more about how AI is starting to transform online retail marketing here.

3. We got the message
Facebook Messenger topped 1.3 billion monthly users Thursday. The number represents hard-to-believe growth for the chat app, which Social Pro Daily reports had just 500 million monthly users less than three years ago in 2014.

4. Totally pinnable numbers
In similar, “look at how we have scaled” news, Pinterest now counts more than 200 million monthly active users. Originally launched in 2010, the image-pinning platform likely reached 50 million monthly users in either 2014 or 2015. (Reports are murky on that milestone.) It hit 100 million monthly users by September 2015, and then eclipsed 150 million in October 2016.

What’s more, in a blog postEvan Sharp revealed Pinterest now has more than 100 billion pins.

5. Social MVPs
Clutch surveyed 344 social media marketers around the globe and found these percentages of such practitioners believe these platforms are “most valuable:”

  • Facebook—89 percent
  • LinkedIn—83 percent
  • YouTube—81 percent
  • Twitter—80 percent
  • Instagram—56 percent

6.  Cord cutters boom
This is good news for Apple TV, Roku, Hulu and Netflix: eMarketer this week predicted that the number of cord cutters will nearly double from 22.2 million in 2017 to 40.1 million in 2021.

7. Violent associations
OK, back to the negative stuff: According to Integral Ad Science’s media report for the first half of 2017, nearly 30 percent of online content that’s risky for brands just isn’t risky—it’s violent. Check out more from the study here.

8. Where readers are digesting more content
While people in publishing often like to say that off-the-shelf WordPress is more intuitive than expensive content management systems (CMS), a Digiday piece on Thursday actually proves it. Trusted Media Brands, the publisher of Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, The Family Handyman and other titles, shortened the average time users wait before they are able to scroll webpages from 3.5 seconds one year ago to 2 seconds now, according to the publication’s report. The publisher accomplished such a feat by migrating sites from the CMS TeamSite to WordPress in February.

Of course, page-load time doesn’t just affect whether readers stay on a site, it also impacts how many ads are displayed on the screen and seen by consumers. Rest assured that Trusted Media’s sales team is mentioning their sites’ new standard of performance to advertising prospects.