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Marketers keep spending on problematic platforms

May 13, 2019 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy

Despite a steady stream of negative news about social media platforms, eMarketer predicts that marketers will continue to invest ad dollars there. eMarketer’s US Social Trends for 2019 foresees continued fallout from 2018’s social media scandals and revelations, particularly for Facebook. It appears that marketers will continue to advertise on the problematic platform, despite declines in usage and engagement along with increased regulatory scrutiny.

For Facebook-owned Instagram, the report points to the likelihood of “growing pains” and investigations into data practices and privacy, in part stemming from the actions of its parent company. Overall, eMarketer says that 2019 will be a year to watch in terms of changing user behavior and engagement across social media platforms.

For Facebook and Instagram, eMarketer predicts that:

  • They will bring in a combined $67.25 billion in worldwide ad revenue, up 23.5% from 2018.
  • They will see US expenditures increase 20.6%, to $27.57 billion this year.
  • Time spent on Facebook among US users will remain flat this year, at 40 minutes per day.
  • Time spent on Instagram will inch up only slightly, to 27 minutes from 26 minutes in 2018.

However, the report points out that, much as marketers have had trouble shifting ad dollars away from linear TV despite declining audiences, they won’t be inclined to quit Facebook either, even in light of its mounting problems. In fact, Next year, eMarketers predicts that marketers will put $32.18 billion into social ads, with the vast majority—$27.57 billion—spent on Facebook. That will bring social ad spending to 47% of TV ad spending ($69.17 billion) this year.

For Snapchat, eMarketer predicts that usage will slow. However, the company will have better luck garnering revenues from its existing users. eMarketer estimates that Snapchat’s US average ad revenue per user (AARPU) will top $10 this year ($10.18 to be exact), up 30.4% over 2018 (when AARPU grew just 10.9%).

Other eMarketer 2019 productions include:

  • An explosion of the stories format (followed by a backlash)
  • The spread of vertical video
  • The newsfeed will maintain its dominance as social media’s primary UI
  • Social shopping will gain traction

Given the turbulence in the social media landscape, we’ll all need to keep an eye on Facebook’s place and popularity in the marketing landscape as well as the ripple effect that increased scrutiny on platforms data usage will have on all players. It will also be interesting to see if the stories format remains relevant in the long haul, as well as continued shifts in the perception of, and tactics around, influencer marketing.

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