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Key Drivers of Increasing Ad Spend Across Social Media

Recently, advertisers have invested more and more of their budget in social media. According to our latest Digital Marketing Report, spend growth numbers for Facebook and Instagram have been +8% and 85% in Q2 2019 respectively. But what are some of these drivers that are leading to this shift?

Follow the Crowd

Instagram has seen massive growth in monthly usership over the last couple years. This has led to a correlated increase in ad spend as we continue to see marketing dollars flow towards opportunities for brands to reach specific, high-intent audience segments.

Simplicity is Key

Social platforms have made it increasingly turnkey to target high-value customers with engaging ad formats. Site retargeting, CRM, and look-alike targeting have become standard program elements. In addition to the audience access itself, the last few years have witnessed significant advancement in dynamic retargeting ad support which we’ve seen drive a significant portion of most e-commerce social ad spend. For digital teams with limited access to creative assets, social platforms are saving the day. High-quality ad units like Facebook Instant Experience Ads (also known as Canvas Ads), Instagram Stories, and Facebook/Snapchat Collection Ads offer brands the opportunity to create compelling ad units with just a few jpeg images and basic copy lines.

Investments are paying off

Most importantly, advertisers are seeing these investments into social pay off. 2019 has been a debutante season for machine learning. The rules for ad campaign setup have changed dramatically in the last year as algorithms have proven they can best human-engineered campaign strategies. Look-a-likes are more powerful. Conversion event optimization is precise. Tactics like “Broad Audiences”— which allow the social media platform to look at all users and determine who is demonstrating the strongest purchase intent signals — are winning A/B tests. The influence of social media adverting on-site traffic and conversion activity is undeniable, despite the unrelenting attribution paradox created by these walled gardens (not to say human oversight is no longer needed, but rather that brands are spending more time on testing and learning versus tedious campaign implementations.)

It will be interesting to see what impact imminent browser changes like ITP 2.2 have on the current success of social media strategies. Mark Zuckerberg has also alluded to potential pivots in Facebook/Instagram offerings in the wake of privacy conversations. Though to date, we haven’t seen any of the privacy or brand safety press deter ad spend across social media platforms.

Want to learn more? Check out our Q2 2019 Digital Marketing Report for more key insights and trends across social, Amazon advertising, paid search, and more.