Social Spend Soars To Reach Second Screeners

It would appear that advertisers are more hooked on social media than us consumers glued to the screen swapping news headlines and pictures of the family.

The headlines are jam-packed with claims about what Cambridge Analytica has done with the data that belongs to millions of Facebook users. Zuckerberg is in Washington answering questions in The Senate and Congress.

Yet today's news is startling. According to ad tech firm, 4C, advertising on Facebook alone was up 62% in first quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2017. The figures even show that there was no slowing of growth at the end of March when the CA story broke. Growth just kept on, erm, growing -- although what is possibly the biggest story surrounding consumer data ever was on the tv news every night and on the front page of most newspapers. 

It's not just Facebook. Snapchat was up 234% in the same period, and Instagram leapt 136%. 

The reason? Well, the obvious point is this is the direction of travel for ad budgets as they head to social platforms that have highly targeted audience and lookalike services. Data-driven marketing budgets are headed to the platforms that offer the best targeting. That makes sense.

However, the researchers are also suggesting that much of the leap -- the reason for why the upward trajectory is so steep -- is second screening. In particular, extra spend around the Winter Olympics and the Six National rugby to capture the attention of viewers switching attention from the television to the smaller screen in their hand. These events alone saw a 65% increase in ad spend on 4C channels, the company said. 

So the headlines are screaming about privacy issues and how misappropriated data may have aided Trump to get in to power and the UK vote to leave the EU.

However, the money trail is saying something very different. Digital marketers can't get enough of data-targeting, and question marks over how that data was gathered are not front of mind.

We'll need to see how the next quarter goes, but I doubt social spend will be held back.  

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