Leading media and advertising advisory firm BIA/Kelsey has just released a new study which suggests that spending on social ads will soar from this year’s total of $4.6 billion to $9.2 billion in 2016 – a literal doubling in under four years.
The forecast, which will intrigue all involved in the online advertising sales business from advertising sales managers to business development managers and beyond, predicts that the bulk of the spending ($5.4 billion of it) in 2016 will go to display ads for social networks. But the fastest growing target, capturing a third of the total spend at $3.85 billion, will be native social ads which tightly integrate with user experience.
Will native advertising really work?
Although many companies stand to benefit from the trend, Facebook – which relies heavily on display advertising – may well reap the biggest rewards, even if some commentators think it needs to focus more on native ads. But many analysts believe that Facebook is finally making advertising work on social media, especially in the field of native ads for mobile. That’s two of the biggest growth areas in one firm.
However, projections aren’t stone cold certainties and, to be frank, the jury is still out over the issue of native advertising’s actual efficacy. Facebook and its social media competitors probably still face tough challenges, although there are few to zero voices claiming that social advertising will do anything other than expand dramatically in the coming years.
An uphill struggle?
Advertisers, though, are still struggling to get an accurate handle on ROIs from social campaigns; they’re notoriously difficult to calculate and the task is certainly not made any easier with native ad offerings. It’s also not clear at this stage how social media users are going to respond to having their social networking activity increasingly infiltrated by advertising – some may take a sharp dislike to it, driving behavior that any advertisers will not find especially conducive to their aims.
Perhaps there’s still quite a bit of educating and informing to be done amongst Joe Public to make these trends fly according to plan. And Facebook and others will still need to put their shoulders into their current efforts without let or hindrance.