Social Ad Spend
Facebook suffered a lackluster Q2, reporting slow user growth and lower-than-expected revenue. The company’s poor performance resulted in the biggest one-day dive in American stock market history, with Facebook stock falling 19 percent, costing the company $120 billion in a single day.
Facebook CFO David Wehner tried to smooth over the company’s lost revenue and slowed user growth during Facebook’s Q2 2018 earnings call, warning that the dismal results may continue as Facebook puts its focus on Stories and users continue to take advantage of new privacy controls.
“There are several factors contributing to that deceleration. For example, we expect currency to be a slight headwind in the second half versus the tailwinds we have experienced over the last several quarters,” said Wehner. “We plan to grow and promote certain engaging experiences like Stories that currently have lower levels of monetization. We are also giving people who use our services more choices around data privacy which may have an impact on our revenue.”
As Facebook hits a dry spell, Instagram — the less popular app that appeals to a younger demographic and offers fresher content — is proving to be the company’s bright spot in the short term.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced in June that the app had surpassed the billion user mark. And it’s not just user growth that’s moving in the right direction; Instagram is seeing a significant uptick in ad dollars coming to the platform from advertisers who have found greener pastures on Instagram over Facebook’s News Feed.
Advertisers are spending more on Instagram
Last month, Merkle reported ad spend on Instagram was growing at four times the rate of ad spend on Facebook ads — with Instagram ad spend up 177 percent year over year during Q2 compared to Facebook’s 40 percent increase. (Of course, Facebook is the more established property attracting higher spend overall, so it’s no surprise that Instagram’s growth curve is steeper.)
Meanwhile, among its clients, 4C saw an even higher rate of ad spend growth on Instagram — up 204 percent year over year. The only other social platform to beat Instagram’s growth per 4C’s data was LinkedIn, which saw a 212 percent jump in ad spend growth. Per 4C’s Q2 State of Digital Media report, ad spend growth on all other social platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat — was up less than 50 percent year over year, with Facebook seeing only a 26 percent increase among 4C clients.
Merkle and 4C are not the only companies reporting major upticks in ad spend growth rates on Instagram, which look especially promising compared to Facebook. In terms of the average change in ad spend from Q1 to Q2 of this year, AdStage saw a significant gap between Instagram and Facebook.
Looking at 137 Facebook client accounts that advertised on Facebook and Instagram every month from January to June 2018, AdStage reports a 31 percent increase in average ad spend for clients that upped their Facebook ad spend while decreasing their Instagram spend — but, for the companies that increased ad spend on Instagram and decreased on Facebook, there was an 84 percent jump in the average increase in spend on Instagram.
For the third group of companies that increased ad spend on both Instagram and Facebook, AdStage reports these clients upped their spend on Instagram in a much bigger way — on average, 161 percent on Instagram compared to, on average, 90 percent on Facebook.