Social Media Advertising Still On the Rise, Despite What We Think

By Shawn Paul Wood 


Questions: does social media advertising work? Not so much! Will growth in digital spending slow down while traditional media recovers from a couple of years spent in the wilderness? Slightly!

And yet, much to the chagrin of those studies (one of which may have been “deeply flawed”), readers of Ad Age now say that social media is “cautiously” on the rise. It was the pub’s fifth “major survey of market attitudes” toward social media.


We’ve got your results after the jump.

ad budget ad ageMarketers reported spending slightly more in digital and social-media channels than prior surveys one through four of this duo’s research. And although social media spending continues to be “a relatively small slice of overall marketing budgets,” you’re going to keep hearing all about it for the foreseeable future.

A little less than half of respondents — 45% — said they spend 1-10% of their overall marketing budgets on social media, while 38% said they spend more than 30% on social.

Advertisers largely see social-media advertising as a branding channel. Asked to rank their goals for social, 39% of respondents listed “building awareness and sentiment for my brand” as the top priority. “Driving traffic to my website” was a distant second, with 16% citing it as their top priority.

You may be slightly surprised to learn that a majority of social media spending will be going the way of Twitter. Coincidentally, this finding comes just as Twitter doubles down on its ad investment despite its own problematic growth trends.

Nearly half of respondents — 44% — said they had increased their spending on Twitter over the past 6 months and 63% said they planned to do so over the next year. By comparison, 59% said they expect to spend more on Facebook. And more marketers surveyed said they plan to decrease spending on Facebook (11%) than on Twitter (7%).

Now that we have three competing studies about the “success” of social and digital advertising, can we all agree to disagree?