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Social media overtakes print for 1st time in global ad spending

Social media overtakes print for 1st time in global ad spending

Author: Robert Williams 

Source: Retail Dive 

  • Advertising spend on social media this year will overtake print media for the first time worldwide, per a forecast by Publicis-owned media agency Zenith. The agency's Advertising Expenditure Forecast estimates that spending on social media will jump 20% to $84 billion this year, while newspaper and magazine spending will fall 6% to $69 billion.
  • That growth will expand social media's share of global ad spend to 13%, making social media the third-biggest ad channel behind TV (29%) and paid search (17%) this year. Paid search will grow by 8% a year to reach $107 billion in 2019 and $123 billion by 2021, when it will make up 18% of total ad spending.
  • TV advertising is set to decline as ratings shrink in key markets, falling to $180 billion by 2021 from $182 billion this year, per Zenith. The firm downgraded its estimate of global media spending growth to 4.4% — from a prior forecast of 4.6% — to total $640 billion. The agency also forecast that annual spending growth will remain steady at 4.3% to 4.4% through 2021.


Zenith's forecast indicates that the media landscape continues to undergo a massive transformation as social media platforms and paid search grow, cutting into traditional media channels like TV and print. Social media has key advantages over traditional media, including first-party data about their users for ad targeting. Many social media platforms also have expanded their appeal among local businesses by giving them advanced tools to create hyperlocalized or geotargeted campaigns aimed at their most likely customers.

The growing market for social and search spending is positive for companies like Facebook and Google, the "duopoly" that for years has seen double-digit growth in ad spending. Google's parent company Alphabet reported a 16% increase in ad sales in Q2, respectable for a mature company that's grown with the broader digital ad market.

The growth rate of social media companies varies by company, with younger platforms tending to show the fastest increases in ad revenue. This year, the industry has seen revenue gains of 62% for Pinterest, 48% for Snap, 28% for Facebook and 18% for Twitter. TikTok, the social video app created by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, doesn't disclose its ad sales, but is emerging as a disruptive force as the startup builds out its marketing platform and brands explore how to best advertise on the nascent channel.

Meanwhile, Amazon has proven to have a budding ad sales business that grew 37% in Q2 from a year earlier, making the e-commerce giant the third-biggest digital platform for advertising behind Google and Facebook.

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