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    Social media to reach $247.3bn in 2024 as dominant channel: WARC

    Social media will continue to dominate the global media landscape in the year ahead, with WARC predicting it will reach $247.3 billion in ad spend in 2024, up 14.3% from the previous year.

    Social platforms are now the largest channel worldwide by advertising investment, overtaking paid search last year, according to WARC’s latest forecast.

    This is supported by findings from data.ai, which reported worldwide user numbers across social platforms have risen 169% since 2014. Meanwhile, GWI data revealed time spent on social platforms has increased by 50% since 2014, and the average daily consumption of 95 minutes jumped to 152 minutes in 2024.

    Alex Brownsell, head of content at WARC Media, said: “Much of social media’s success has been driven by Meta’s remarkable renaissance. However, social’s stronghold on budgets can also be seen in TikTok’s rise, and a return to double digit ad revenue growth at Snapchat and Pinterest.

    “However, with this dominance comes challenges, such as rising advertising loads in social environments, and the impact of AI on media planning. In this report, we take a holistic view of the global social media landscape, which shows no sign of losing momentum.”

    Among the highlights of WARC’s Global Advertising Trends: Social media reaches new peaks is Meta being on track to overtake global linear TV in advertising spend in 2025. This comes as both Facebook and Instagram grew by more than 20% year-on-year in Q1 2024.

    Meanwhile, Meta is forecast to earn $155.6 billion in ad revenue this year, representing a 63% share of global social spend, fuelled by a wave of investment from Chinese exporters, and the popularity of its AI tools.

    The WARC report has also forecast TikTok’s continued growth. The platform is expected to earn $23.1 billion this year amid concerns of the platform’s ban in the US.

    The report noted that the 18.3% year-on-year increase marks a significant slow-down from the 87.8% growth it clocked up last year, despite the introduction of new search and shopping ad formats. Given TikTok’s unique popularity with Gen Z audiences, many advertisers in the US will be hoping a ban does not come into effect.

    Pinterest is also set to enjoy a 17.3% year-on-year increase in ad revenue in 2024, while Snapchat is forecast to grow 13.7%, according to the WARC report.

    Meanwhile, Twitter/X’s ad revenue woes are set to continue in 2024 with a predicted decline by 6.4% globally and 5.1% in the US.

    However, WARC said that, compared to its startling 46.4% decrease in 2023, this would mark something of a stabilisation for the Elon Musk-owned platform, largely due to political ad spend. However, marketers remain concerned with brand safety and X’s much publicised issues with bots.

    The WARC report highlighted ad loads rising across social platforms. The platforms are aiming to improve monetisation “efficiency” with new search and shopping ad formats. According to the report, Meta increased its ad load in Q4 2023 to 19.1%, with most Reels sessions now having seven or more ads.

    WARC also highlighted that social platforms are becoming increasingly homogeneous. As TikTok prepares to launch a photo sharing app, Notes, and Meta invests in AI search tools, social platforms are converging in the advertising formats and commerce functionality they offer to brands. 

    Rachel Morman, global head of social, PHD Global, said: “AI offers incredible new opportunities for [social advertisers], delivering multi-advertiser contextual ads, but that may not be suitable for all brands – such as those that need to heavily consider exclusivity and adjacency.”

    Gillian Collison, GroupM’s global head of social, added: “The challenge remains to enable brands to leverage their own data and analytics to understand target audiences at a deeper level, enabling personalised experiences across all mediums.”

    WARC’s report also offered an outlook on social media in the US, UK, China, and APAC.

    In the APAC region, more than 70% of consumers in Asian markets, including Indonesia and the Philippines, use social media across multiple stages of their buying journeys. GWI data shows that social media users in APAC are 11.2% more likely than the global average to purchase a product or service on a weekly basis because of social media influencer endorsement.

    The post Social media to reach $247.3bn in 2024 as dominant channel: WARC appeared first on Mediaweek.

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