Social Spend Will Double By 2018, Thanks To Mobile, Programmatic

Social media advertising spending will more than double in just five years, according to a new forecast from BI Intelligence, which predicts that social ad revenues will jump 40% from $6.1 billion in 2013 to $8.5 billion this year and 195% to almost $14 billion in 2018. That works out to a compound annual growth of 18% over this period.

A number of factors will drive this spectacular growth, including increasing reach, improved targeting and measurement capabilities, and the rapid expansion of programmatic buying options for social media.

Of course, social will also benefit from related trends like the rise of mobile, the BI Intelligence forecast notes. Indeed, BI also predicts that spending on mobile social media (MoSoMe? There has to be a clever acronym or abbreviation for this) will exceed spending on non-mobile social media beginning this year. That’s pretty impressive, considering it was just two years ago everyone was ragging on Facebook for not even having a mobile strategy.

In 2013, mobile made up 45% of total social media spending, per BI, and that proportion is set to rise steadily to 55% this year, 58% in 2015, 61% in 2016, 63% in 2017, and 66% in 2018. Put the numbers together, and ad spending on MoSoMe will come to around $9.1 billion in 2018, versus around $4.8 billion for desktop social media. 

On the programmatic front, BI noted the results of a survey from Ignition One suggesting that spending on Facebook’s programmatic platform, FBX, soared 150% in the second quarter of this year.

Previously, a survey of chief marketing officers conducted by the Duke University Fuqua School of Business found that they expect social media spending’s share of marketing budgets to increase from 9% this year to over 13% next year, rising to 21% five years from now.

Looking at the bigger online picture, Forrester predicted that total spending on online marketing of all types will reach $103 billion in 2019, accounting for 36% of all advertising spending in that year (besting TV at $86 billion or 30%).

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