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Social media ad spend forecast to surpass TV by 2020 despite Facebook's data scandal


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

April 2, 2018 | 2 min read

A quarter of all UK digital ad spend (£3.3bn) will be funneled in to social media platforms in 2018 according to eMarketer forecasts, with the total invested in the medium set to overtake TV by 2020.

Social media apps on iphone screen

In 2018, marketers in the UK will spend £3.3bn ($4.2bn) on social network advertising / Pexels

The figures come as both consumers and advertisers are putting Facebook under greater scruntiny, amid claims the world's largest social network had the data of 50 million users harvested by third-party analytics company Cambridge Analytica.

Despite some marketers freezing spend with Facebook – like Mozilla and Sonos – and an ongoing user campaign to #DeleteFacebook in light of the allegations, eMarketer has predicted that in 2018 social advertising will rise spend in the UK will rise by 24% before the year is out.

At the moment, social media's share of UK ad spend has overtaken all traditional formats, with the exception of TV. However, come 2020 it will surpass TV, with social ad spend set to account for 29.7% of UK spend, with broadcast TV taking just 17.8%.

The figures also come amid the world's biggest advertisers P&G and Unilever criticising the "walled gardens" some social networks are perceived to operate in.

Both big spenders are deep in an ongoing efficiency drive to ensure they get more value from the media spend and they are shining a spotlight on social networks' brand safety controls in the process.

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