Deloitte: Social Media Advertising Still "Modest" Compared to Television

By Kelsey Blair Comment

When is trillion of anything humble? According to Deloitte Canada’s 10th annual Technology Media and Telecommunications Prediction Report, a trillion advertisements – the number users will see on social networks in 2011 – is relatively modest. They key word is “relatively”.

According to Deloitte, the dominant media for advertising revenue in 2011 will be television. Television has a worldwide audience which will grow to 3.7 billion in 2011. In 2010, this audience watched 140 billion hours of television, and while concerns have been raised about PVR’s detracting from television’s advertising revenue, Deloitte argues that, even if people do pre-record shows, advertisements watched at 12x their regular speed, still impact the viewer. As such, advertisers need to focus on distinct images to stand out. With an estimated additional $10 billion in ad revenue this year, television will continue to be the most dominant media, “in short, television will likely continue to command a growing share of the world’s attention and wallets and will retain its leadership among all media in terms of total revenues”.

Although social networks, like Facebook, are expected to surpass one billion unique members and serve up more than two trillion ads this year, their ad revenues will remain “relatively modest” compared with other forms of media, says the report. At 4$ a member per year, social networks’ advertising revenue is a relatively low average; this is compared to other traditional advertising such as television, film, and other forms of online advertising. Advertising revenues for social media will, however, show immense growth and will be upwards of US 1 billion, but that will account for less than 1% of worldwide spending.

Interestingly, Deloitte predicts the decline of personal computers, arguing that the “one size fits all” model of business computing will no longer apply, as companies can choose from various products which successfully meet the needs of their business; “These growth drivers are likely to foster significant tablet diversity, and although certain form factors and operating systems dominated the market initially, the different requirements of various enterprises mean that ‘one size’ will probably not fit all.”

While there is lots of useful information that can be garnered from the Deloitte Report, what is most pertinent is not the growth and decline of different ad revenues in individual sectors, but, instead, how each area is impacting the other. For example, the move away from Personal Computers is likely influenced by social media, which demands a more interactive user who can connect constantly to their network. Similarly, while television remains a dominant leader in advertising, it, more than any other traditional media (film, print, ect), has made use of social media as key parts of its advertising campaigns; no major television program doesn’t have a Facebook page, Twitter feed, or additional social networking add-ons.

This suggests that if businesses want to make a trillion seem downright common, it is essential, now more than ever, to consider advertising strategies in complement to one another and to think of the potential revenues in the same terms. It is not how an ad’s potential revenue in one sector; it is an ad’s potential across several platforms.