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New Features on Social Networks Led to Increased Social Ad Spend in Early 2017

Social NetworksIf you’re not advertising on social media yet, you may be in the minority at this point. As brands see results they are bumping up ad spend. Some companies have noticed such an improvement in social media ad spend that they decided to measure it to find out exactly how much more brands are spending on social platforms. 4C Insights, Inc. is one such company. A data science and media technology business, one of 4C’s services is to help brands manage their social media advertising efforts. In order to see how social ad spend has grown in the first quarter of 2017, 4C looked at the advertising spending habits of more than 900 brands that use its Social Ads tool on several social media platforms. Here’s a sampling of what 4C found in its report called The State of Social Media Advertising Q1 2017.


Not surprisingly, 4C noticed that ad spend on Facebook grew quite a bit during Q1, as it increased by 81 percent. More specifically, brands in the home and garden sector spent a whole 628 percent more this year than last, while those in food and beverage saw 49 percent growth from one quarter to the next.

All this growth is likely due to some new features Facebook unveiled recently. For example, Facebook rolled out a developer platform called Camera Effects, as well as Facebook 360 for Samsung Gear VR. The social network also took a page from Snapchat and Instagram’s book and released the Stories feature. Facebook Messenger also got some updates, such as Reactions and Mentions. And the more useful features Facebook adds, the more ad growth we can expect from this social network—unless its competitors add new features faster!


This is another social media platform that had a good Q1 due to interesting new features. 4C found that Instagram’s number of advertisers reached 1 million earlier this year. Accordingly, ad spend increased by eight percent from last quarter, and by 161 percent compared to last year.

In particular, 4C discovered that brands in healthcare increased ad spend on Instagram the most, since it grew by 265 percent from the last quarter. Which industry increased ad spend the most compared to last year? That would be consumer packaged goods, which increased by 5,542 percent.

One of the reasons for Instagram’s improved ad spending is likely the new shopping experience that makes it easier for consumers to find out more about products they see on the app, and then simply click on the brand’s website to buy. Instagram also recently started letting businesses around the world pay to put ads on the Stories feature. Plus, it released Insights for Stories, allowing brands to view their reach, impressions, replies, and other metrics while using this feature.


4C also saw some brands increase their spending on Twitter ads, with consumer packaged goods being at the top, since brands in this industry increased ad spend by 198 percent from Q4 to Q1. Food and beverage increased by 380 percent from one year to the next.

Like the other social networks, Twitter’s new ad spend numbers were likely influenced by its new features. Examples include:


This social network saw an increase in ad spend of 21 percent from one year to the next. Telecommunications brands increased spending the most, bumping it up by 141 percent this quarter compared to last. But the industry that saw the biggest surge year over year was legal and finance, with an increase of 438 percent.

This growth was mostly due to LinkedIn’s latest features. They include

  • Editing for profile photos
  • Trending Storylines
  • Changes to the search function


Like the other social networks 4C looked at, Pinterest has grown quite a bit. Ad spend by the brands managed by 4C increased by 73 percent compared to last year. The industry that grew the most is consumer packaged goods, which increased by 26 percent from last quarter and 1,696 percent from last year.

Some of Pinterest’s newest features that likely affected ad spend in early 2017 include:

  • Promoted App Pins
  • Ad groups
  • Pinterest Propel
  • Search Ads


Snapchat is pretty new to 4C, but the social media advertising software has more than 40 brands with ads on the app. These brands are in all different industries, and 4C has found that overall, ad spend on Snapchat increased by 593 percent from Q4 to Q1 in 2017.

So, what has Snapchat been doing differently as of late to get this increased ad spend? Mainly, it continued with its IPO, allowed users to search on Stories, and let everyone know about its API Partners for ads.

You can read the full report on The State of Social Media Advertising Q1 2017 to see the numbers for yourself and get more information on improving your paid social media advertising results. Then fill us in on what you learned. Do you advertise on these social media platforms? Has your ad spend increased due to new features or other factors?