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Report Finds Social Media Ad Spend Has Doubled Since Last Year

Report Finds Social Media Ad Spend Has Doubled Since Last YearIf it seems like you keep seeing more brands advertising on social media than ever before, it’s because they are. According to 4C Insights, Inc., which analyzed the ad spend habits of over 900 brands using its social ads tool, ad spend on social media is up by 104 percent compared to last year. In fact, it’s increased by 42 percent since last quarter alone. That’s pretty impressive, since Q1’s social ad spend was also up from the previous quarter, as you can see in my article on 4C’s Q1 social ad spend report. So, which social networks have seen the biggest increase in ad spend during Q2 of 2017? Read on to find out what 4C found in its latest report called The State of Social Advertising Q2 2017.


Another quarter, another chance for Facebook to continue its complete domination of social media. What’s new? As you can guess, Facebook was the top earner of advertising dollars, as ad spend was up by 131 percent compared to last year and 46 percent compared to Q1. Why? According to 4C, it’s probably due to the following:

  • Facebook has grown to 2 billion monthly active users.
  • Messenger got some updates to its gaming and payment features.
  • Facebook Live now has closed captions.
  • Facebook made changes to ensure there are fewer clickbait articles & links to poor-quality sites.

These recent updates make Facebook a more appealing place to be, and therefore a better spot to advertise. In particular, the travel sector took notice and increased ad spend on Facebook by 391 percent compared to Q1. If you think that sounds like a huge change, note that the government/public sector increased ad spend by 1,281 percent compared to 2016! That could have something to do with politics pretty much taking over the conversation on social media lately…


Facebook’s closest competition for ad spend in Q2 happens to be one of its own entities–Instagram. This popular platform’s ad spend grew 124 percent from 2016, and 28 percent from Q1. The retail sector largely drove that growth, increasing its ad spend on Instagram by an incredible 656 percent since last year. And just as on Facebook, the travel sector also grew on Instagram, increasing advertising spending by 609 percent since Q1. Here are 4C’s ideas as to why Instagram’s ad spend grew:

  • The number of monthly active users increased to 700 million.
  • Instagram made it easier to label sponsored posts.
  • The app released new features, such as Face Filters and Direct.
  • Users can now archive their posts and replay Live Video.

The happier Instagram users are with the app’s features, the more time they spend there, driving brands to spend more on ads. So, it’s very possible Instagram’s latest upgrades had an effect on ad spend.


Snapchat may lag behind some of the more established social platforms, but it’s still growing at a good pace. Its ad spend was up 101 percent from Q1, with home & garden brands leading the charge due to their 1,189 percent increase in ad spend since Q1. Check out 4C’s guesses for the increase:

  • Snap Spectacles got lots of publicity after winning awards at Cannes Lions festival.
  • Snap Map has been incredibly popular this quarter.
  • The app also released custom Stories, Limitless Snaps, and Geofilters that are easier to design than before.


The brands using 4C’s social media tool increased ad spend on Pinterest by 52 percent compared to last year, and 14 percent compared to Q1. Not a triple digit increase, but improvement nonetheless. Brands in the legal & financial field saw the most noticeable increase at 1,016 percent compared to 2016. And cosmetics & hygiene brands spent 163 percent more on Pinterest than they did in Q1. Here’s 4C’s breakdown on why that might have been:

  • Pinterest now auto plays Promoted Videos.
  • It also includes Promoted Videos in search results.
  • It’s easier to measure success on Pinterest, thanks to new key metrics on Pins.


Twitter’s increase in ad spend was similar to Pinterest’s overall, as it went up 46 percent compared to Q1 and 35 percent compared to 2016. So which sectors spent more than before? The service sector increased ad spend on Twitter by 597 percent from Q1 to Q2. And home & garden brands increased spending by 386 percent from last year. Here are some possible reasons for the change:

  • Twitter got a new look and feel.
  • The social network launched #SeeEverySide.
  • Twitter Lite came out, offering a simple mobile experience that’s light on data usage.
  • Direct Messages got buttons to encourage users to take an action.


Finally, there’s LinkedIn, which saw just a 12 percent increase in ad spend from last year, but a 36 percent increase from last quarter. The health sector drove a lot of that increase, since it went up by 3,667 percent from 2016 and 376 percent from Q1. Check out the likely reasons for the overall increase in social ad spend here:

  • LinkedIn launched Search Appearances to help users get found by employers.
  • It now allows visual comments, custom notifications, and easy customization of profiles.
  • With Audience insights, LinkedIn users get basic information about anyone reading their posts.

When you read 4C’s full report, The State of Social Advertising Q2 2017, you can find out more about this research, including marketing trends and best practices for advertising on social media. Download the report today and feel free to let me know what you think about the latest information on social ad spend.

Photo Credit: tuan_anh8127 Flickr via Compfight cc