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Adspend Social Media Advertising

Social media ad budgets continue to grow at 'expense of print', up 20% in 2019


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

October 7, 2019 | 3 min read

Social media advertising will see 20% in ad spend boost in 2019 to account for 13% of all global spend.

Social media apps on iphone screen

Social media ad budgets continue to grow at 'expense of print' - up 20% in 2019 / Pexels

This will see social media overtake print ad spend the first time, according to Zenith Media’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts. Spend on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will grow by 20% in 2019 to reach $84bn, while combined newspapers and magazine expenditure will fall 6% to $69bn.

Social (13% of spend) sits behind TV (29%) and paid search (17%) – which breaches $100bn for the first time.

The report read: “Since it began in the mid-1990s, internet advertising has principally risen at the expense of print. Over the last ten years, internet advertising has risen from 12% of total global spend (in 2008) to 44% (in 2018). Meanwhile, newspapers’ share of global spend has fallen from 25% to 8%, while magazines’ have fallen from 12% to 4.5%.”

Matt James, Zenith’s global brand president, said: “Social media advertising gives brands the opportunity to drive growth by using automated tools to optimise their campaigns for key business objectives.


“By using first-party data from their own websites to identify potential customers on social media, brands can convert consumers who are already on the path to purchase and target look-a-like audiences more effectively.”

Internet advertising will account for 52% of global adspend, up from 44% in 2018.

Globally, ad growth is expected to remain stable at 4.4%. Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith, said: “We have slightly downgraded our expectations for 2019 amid a marginally weaker trading environment.

“But growth should then remain steady out to 2021, powered by the robust US advertising market.”

In the UK, 2019 spend will be down to 3.3% growth, down from 8.7% in 2018.

Henry Daglish, founder of Bountiful Cow, said: "It’s no surprise that we’re continuing to see channels such as press start to lose the race vs the digital channels, however I don’t think we should underestimate the continued importance of the so-called ‘traditional’ channels when it comes to impartial media planning - in spite of the fact that our industry has heralded the death of so many of these channels over the years.

"As per the report, these figures do slightly mask how so many media owners have digitised their product over the years, and therefore we aren’t really comparing apples with apples. Over the next few years it will be interesting to see whether things re-correct themselves more than we expect as more and more clients and agencies understand the perils of optimising to short term returns vs long term effectiveness. This should be a challenge to agencies and clients to take the longer-term view.”

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