According to a forecast by market research firm Mintel, social media is increasingly the place to be when it comes to advertising. By 2017, social media advertising revenue in the U.S. will exceed $11 billion, Mintel predicts. That’s nearly double last year’s $6.1 billion total. Close to half of users in the U.S. say Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks have had some influence on them when they research products and services.
The coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic was the most likely to use social media to guide purchase decisions, with 21% of men in that age range reporting that they had purchased a product by clicking on a social ad, Mintel said. Overall, 79% of those surveyed by Mintel said they have viewed or shared content from a company or the company’s social media page, and one quarter were inspired to seek out more information after seeing a post about a company on social media.
“Social advertising spend is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down,” said Bryant Harland, a technology analyst with Mintel. “While display ads still play a key role in terms of brand awareness and new product discovery, getting the most out of social media marketing requires a greater emphasis on aiding networkers in conducting deeper research and helping them find information that is truly relevant to their needs.”
Mintel predicts a cumulative annual growth in social media advertising revenue of 16% per year from 2014 to 2017. Native advertising, a buzzword for the paid media that mimics the conventions and style of the site where it appears, is expected to grow even faster, at a rate of about 40% a year. Mintel forecasts revenue from native ads to go from $1.8 billion in 2013 to $9.4 billion in 2018.
In terms of social network advertising popularity, Facebook is king, with 86% of users reporting visits to the site at least once a week. YouTube drew 60% of surveyed users from week to week. Other popular media included Google+ (43%), Twitter (37%), LinkedIn (30%), Pinterest (30%), and Instagram (28%).