Survey: Social Media Laps Search in Ad Spend


ADOTAS – Ad spending in social media has lapped spending in search and is fast pulling up to online display, according to a survey of several “leading agencies” conducted by advertising system provider STRATA. When asked where the focus of their digital advertising spending was in the first quarter of 2012, 69 percent cited social media — that’s a year-over-year increase of 32 percent — while 65 percent said search and 71 percent said online display, still the leading category.

In total, television still trumps digital as the medium of choice for agencies last quarter — 54 percent said their clients were most focused on television, with digital coming in at second place, with 24 percent. STRATA’s report suggested, though, that political advertising contributed significantly to that degree of focus on television, with 43 percent of agencies saying they’d prefer to compete with political advertisers for ad space on TV rather than invest more in different media. The television-to-digital ratio might be trending toward the digital side — 21 percent of the agencies said they anticipated they’d be spending more in digital than in “traditional” media. Overall, 79 percent said their clients were more focused on digital this year than they were last year. However, 47 percent said they anticipated digital would never warrant more ad spending than traditional channels. On the side of those who see a shinier future for digital, 6 percent said they already had more of a focus on digital than traditional, 21 percent said they anticipated digital would pass traditional in one to three years, 11 percent said they saw it happening in three to five years and 13 percent in five or more years.

Within social media specifically, 85.1 percent of the agencies said they and their clients were most focused on Facebook, 44.8 percent on YouTube, 39.1 percent on LinkedIn, 24.1 percent on Google+, 9.2 percent on Foursquare and 1.1 percent on MySpace.

While display, social media and search still dominated the focus of digital campaigns, mobile and video both made notable showings, with 29.9 percent of the agencies saying their focus within digital fell most on mobile and 24.1 percent on video. Among mobile, iPhones were most appealing to the agencies’ clients, with 74.7 percent saying their clients were most interested in spending their mobile ad dollars there, and 57 percent preferring Android, 44.3 percent preferring iPads, 24.1 percent preferring Blackberry, and 8.9 percent each for non-Apple tablets and Windows phones. Focus on Android is down 19 percent since just the last quarter of 2011.


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