How Social Media Has Changed The Ad Game [Infographic]

Editor’s note: The following content was published on 2018.

Where consumers go, advertisers will soon follow, and the world of social media is no different. Nearly every area of business has been disrupted by social media’s rise, but perhaps none has been impacted more than the advertising industry. Over the past several years, what began as a space for people to gather and connect has become an ideal landscape for advertisers. With social media, advertisers can reach a bigger audience than ever before.

When social media advertising first arrived on the scene, marketers used it to simply connect with their audiences. However, today’s marketers have had to change many traditional ad approaches to keep up with consumer behavior and technological trends. Social media is here to stay, and advertisers must adapt in order to engage customers.

So, what are the key factors influencing the shift toward social media advertising? MDG’s newly updated infographic, How Social Media Has Changed the Ad Game, will help you answer that question. We’ve refreshed the stats and approaches to include those that truly matter in 2018. Here’s what we discovered:


How Consumers Spend Their Time Online
Currently, Americans spend an average of 23.6 hours online every week, and most of that time is spent on social media accounts. The reality today is that social media is dominated by consumers. Brands and marketers are welcome in this space, but only if they can remove the hard sales pitch. A friendly, conversational brand voice tends to resonate with social media users. And most consumers want brands to be accessible—especially when they have a customer service problem.

The growing popularity of social platforms is why most brands are increasing ad spend toward social. Just over one-third of consumers spend their online time using social media sites. However, other platforms still see a steady flow of visitors, including music and video streaming sites and online news outlets.

What Social Platforms Do Consumers Use?
When it comes to the social platforms consumers use, YouTube is tops: 73 percent of adults spend their screen time on the video-sharing site. Social networking giant Facebook ranks second, with 68 percent of consumers spending time on the platform. Other sites included in survey data include Instagram (35 percent), Pinterest (29 percent), Snapchat (27 percent), and LinkedIn (25 percent). Last place belongs to Twitter, with 24 percent of consumers spending time on the site.

Changing Ad Spend Priorities
The impact of social media on advertising is part of a larger shift: consumers are moving away from traditional channels and toward digital channels. When you compare the total U.S. ad spend in 2014 to 2018, the shift is clear. This year, brands are devoting 33 percent of ad spend to digital platforms—up from 25 percent in 2014. However, television’s ad spend is decreasing slightly this year.

Advertisers are also decreasing ad spend when it comes to print media. Ad spending for magazines is down to 11 percent, and only 6 percent of spend is being allocated to newspapers. Radio and out-of-home spending, however, remain steady at 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Increasing Social Spend
With marketing dollars being shifted toward digital, and social media becoming ubiquitous, advertisers are increasingly moving spend to social platforms. Over the next five years, CMOs expect to raise their social media spend by a significant 71 percent.

These changes are already taking place as marketers make adjustments to their budgets. Currently, social media spend accounts for 12 percent of marketing budgets, on average. Over the next five years, CMOs expect social to account for nearly a quarter of marketing budgets.

Brands of all types are expected to increase social spend over the next five years. Brands marketing B2C products are expected to boost spending by 61 percent, while those promoting B2C services are projected to increase spending by 82 percent. B2B brands also will see significant increases in social spend—89 percent for products, and 58 percent for services.

Evolving Goals
Marketers first used social media to connect with audiences, building relationships by interacting with customers. However, today’s social media channels serve multiple purposes. Brands now look to social media to fulfill a variety of objectives, including:

  • Brand building and awareness: One of the most effective ways to use social media is to boost brand awareness. Plus, social media gives marketers the opportunity to target certain demographics and niche markets.
  • Engaging new customers: Brands often look to social media when reaching out to new customers, whether it’s through sharing popular hashtags or implementing targeted ads.
  • Introducing audiences to new products and services: Social media is an excellent tool for spreading the word about a new product or service.
  • Maintaining interest among current customers: Well-crafted social media content allows you to keep your audience interested while potentially creating brand ambassadors.
  • Sharing brand promotions and coupons: Social media provides brands with a cost-effective, simple way to share information about upcoming deals and specials.

Evolving Challenges
While social media provides many benefits, it also presents new challenges for marketers. Some of the obstacles social media marketers face include:

  • Measuring ROI: Quantifying the success of social media initiatives remains a struggle for many marketers. While social shares and impressions can mean success, it’s hard to tell how they influence revenue.
  • Developing content, ads, and a comprehensive strategy: Consistently creating relevant content can be difficult for marketing teams, who often face limited resources and time.
  • Tying social to business goals: Many brands are unable to develop a clear picture of how social media impacts business objectives.
  • Tracking results easily: While there are many social media tracking tools available, not all of them produce reliable results. Plus, many teams lack the expertise needed to make sense of the data.
  • Understanding performance across social media channels: How does each channel contribute to an overall promotional strategy? This question remains unanswered for many brands.

As social media continues to evolve, successful brands will adapt their strategies to accommodate an ever-changing audience. Keeping track of the latest technological and consumer trends will ensure that your brand maintains awareness and improves ROI in 2018 and beyond.

Follow the ever-evolving social media advertising trends. Contact MDGtoday at 561-338-7797 or visit

MDG, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include print advertising, direct mail marketing, branding, logo design, creative, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, outdoor, newspaper, digital marketing, website design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, paid search marketing, and SEO. To learn about the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG today at 561-338-7797 or visit


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