When you’re in advertising, the way you approach social media matters—a lot. In H1 of 2022, advertisers invested nearly $12b on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, representing 37% of digital spending through June.
Even more staggering is that over 1.5k companies have spent $500k+ on these platforms; nearly 90% of them also invested in other channels, including OTT, display, video and YouTube.
However, there are some major misconceptions floating around about the value of social media and how to use it in advertising. We hear a few of them regularly—and now we’re here to do some social media mythbusting.
Here are 5 social advertising myths you should ignore and what you need to know to debunk them.
1. Social Media Advertising Insights Aren’t Important
“I’m not a social platform, so these insights don’t mean anything.”
Please, never say that again.
As of January 1, more than 332mm people lived in the United States.
In Q1, Facebook reported 264mm monthly active users (MAUs), meaning that roughly 80% of the US uses Facebook.
Instagram can’t tout quite the same numbers, but it’s holding its weight, with more than 35% of the country logging in monthly. As Instagram continues to soar past its big brother—Instagram contributes more than half of Facebook’s ad revenue—that 35% will rise quickly.
This story repeats itself across the social media world.
Advertisers know this, which is why social ad spending continues to rise. As more inventory becomes available and more of everyday life transitions to the social world, ad spending will follow.
Here’s why that’s important: these advertisers are also spending outside social’s hallowed walls. Understanding how they’re spending on social is fundamental to telling the broader omnichannel story.
2. Social Media Companies Aren’t Fighting for the Same Advertisers As Me
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times.
My audience isn’t on social media.
In this case, the phrase would be, “Social media advertisers aren’t my advertisers.”
For whatever reason, despite more than 70% of Americans using social media and advertisers pouring billions into it, the belief that certain parties aren’t part of the social world persists.
In reality, nearly everyone uses social media, and as younger generations gravitate to newer platforms—like TikTok—and consider the likes of Instagram as gospel, this won’t change.
Advertisers know this, which is why social spending on major platforms will continue to rise.
As long as these platforms offer advertisers a frictionless way to reach a large part of the addressable online world with absolute precision, their audience is your audience.
3. Meta’s Not a Threat
Few companies have experienced more ups and downs than Mark Zuckerberg’s darling.
In the beginning, many people hailed Facebook and Zuckerberg as heroes. An article published by Wired in 2007 went as far as to say that Facebook is “the world’s hottest platform.”
Early investment by Microsoft and rapid user growth made Facebook as close to an overnight success as you can get in the tech industry.
Unfortunately for Facebook, headlines turned, especially of late.
Between privacy scandals, a pivot into virtual reality that has people laughing, and an identity crisis, many people are under the impression that Goliath is falling.
When Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announced that it lost money for the first time, those thoughts seemed like they were becoming a reality.
But counting Meta out now would be a colossal mistake.
While there’s no denying that Meta is struggling in the press, it’s doing fine from an advertising standpoint.
In H1 2022, Meta reported just shy of $60B in ad revenue, and it’s showing no signs of resting on its laurels.
Last month, Facebook expanded the Meta Advantage ad suite to help businesses generate more sales. It also introduced Meta Boost Small Business Studios to provide small businesses training, inspiration and networking.
For better or worse, as long as users and advertisers are flocking into Meta’s kingdom—like these Facebook advertisers to watch in Q3—its reign will continue.
4. Twitter Is Just for Crypto Advertisers
Elon Musk shocked the world (again) when news broke that he was buying Twitter.
After some back and forth that saw the world’s richest person question the number of bots on the platform and a whistleblower calling attention to security holes, the deal went through.
As of Tuesday, September 13, 2022, Elon Musk owns Twitter.
While people worldwide scratched their heads, certain advertisers were chomping at the bit.
We’re talking about crypto advertisers.
Since news broke that a deal was in the works, the biggest names in crypto, including Coinbase and Crypto.com, have invested millions in Twitter ads. Other advertisers that align with Musk’s persona, including many in the financial industry, have also upped their spending.
That said, will crypto’s recent collapse impact how these advertisers are spending?
But Musk’s ties to the industry will continue to attract these niche advertisers. (It’ll be interesting to see how things develop now that he officially owns the platform though.)
There’s no denying that crypto advertisers are finding a home inside Twitter’s walls, but it’s still a far cry from a crypto paradise.
Through the first six months of 2022, less than 3.5% of Twitter’s ad revenue came from these advertisers, making it clear that the platform is still very much in play.
That said, Twitter’s approach may differ slightly from the other major players. While the likes of Facebook and Instagram attract the masses, Twitter may home in on more niche audiences (and advertisers), including those in gaming and video streaming.
5. Instagram Only Caters to Influencers
Influencer marketing continues to gain steam as consumers make it clear that they trust their peers much more than brands.
The rapid ascent of influencer marketing on Instagram and other platforms could lead some to believe that these ecosystems are catering directly to them—and they are.
Instagram’s made it clear that influencers will be a big part of its M.O. moving forward.
In July, Instagram launched new tools for creators to connect with subscribers. The month before, it added more ways for creators to make money.
But it’s important to remember that Instagram isn’t a one-trick pony. It’s far too big for that.
Instagram—which is projected to reach nearly $40b in ad revenue next year—attracts dollars from all corners of the advertising world, including SMBs, B2B and everything in between.
No matter how many brands take advantage of the influencer craze, the widespread appeal won’t fade. Instagram will remain an advertising option for advertisers of all stripes.
Don’t Believe All the Headlines and Hype
The advertising industry is no different than any other; headlines and hype are everywhere.
Some of these talking points deserve your attention—like retail media eating into social advertising budgets and the TikTok takeover—but some don’t deserve the time of day.
We’re talking about the downfall of Meta, a crypto takeover on Twitter and an influencer-only Instagram.
Do these headlines matter?
Of course. Any turbulence and slight development will impact advertising strategies.
But these are just storylines in the greater plot. If you assume they’re the story’s beginning, middle and end, you’ll leave opportunities on the table.
Don’t let that happen.
For more insights, sign up for MediaRadar’s blog here.