Paid Social: Facebook Ad Spend Slows in Q4 While Instagram Investment Grows

Facebook has been a dominating force for digital marketers, but how do other social media platforms compare, particularly when it comes to paid social?

To better understand the impact of paid social and marketing in the fourth quarter of 2017, Merkle recently conducted its “Digital Marketing Report.” The statistics showed that Facebook ad spend grew 20 percent year-over-year, but this was a significant decrease from the 40 percent recorded during the first three quarters of the year.

digital marketing, social media marketing

“This decline aligns with Facebook’s stated expectation that increases in ad load would decline in the back half of 2017 as the social media giant seeks to optimize user experience,” concluded the authors of the report.

On the other hand, marketers increased their Instagram ad spend 122 percent year-over-year in Q4. Growth came from pricing increases for both clicks and impressions. Marketers also increased their investment in Twitter, which rose 44 percent year-over-year, primarily as a result of higher click-and-impression pricing.

Facebook vs. Instagram for Marketing

Previous research has indicated that Instagram surpasses Facebook in terms of engagement among customers, making it a top social platform for marketers.

The “2016 Social Media Industry Index” from TrackMaven initially discovered that the engagement ratio for brands was 10 times higher on Instagram than Facebook during the first half of the year. This highlighted the edge Instagram has over Facebook for marketing purposes.

However, marketers have struggled to measure the ROI of social media as a whole in the past. The “State of Social Marketing” report from Simply Measured found that among most marketers, measuring social media ROI is considered to be the biggest challenge.

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