How Younger Platforms Are Chipping Away at Facebook’s Dominance in Social

There’s a lot of talk in the martech/adtech ecosystem about Facebook and Instagram’s gradual loss of sway in social advertising, especially relative to video-first apps popular among young people such as Snapchat and TikTok. But how much are things really changing, and why?

Raquel Rosenthal, CEO of omnichannel advertising company Digilant, checked in with Street Fight to provide her perspective on the shift in social spend and the drives behind it.

Are advertisers diversifying social and other digital ad spend beyond Facebook? Are there numbers to support that claim?

Yes, absolutely. Advertisers are looking to diversify media spend beyond the usual players, and this trickles down to social, which is getting a bigger piece of the media pie year after year. Recent reports from Statista and Hootsuite have found that while Facebook and Instagram still eat up most social ad spend, the biggest movement is happening among challenger platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

According to Hootsuite’s recent social report, 38% of marketers are planning to increase spend on Tiktok, 45% on Pinterest, and 47% on Snapchat. Weigh this against the 29% and 31% of marketers who plan to increase spending on Facebook and Instagram, respectively, and it’s clear that 2022 will be a year of continued diversification within social.

What are the forces leading advertisers to embrace other platforms and/or channels?

There are many, but two are top of mind. The first driver is a new attitude toward testing and learning that we’re seeing with our clients and with advertisers at large. This driver could have something to do with the increased importance of testing the “new” as the deprecation of cookies nears.

The second driver is simply the ever-evolving customer journey and the importance of being where your customers and/or prospects are — wherever that may be online, offline, and anywhere in between.

Advertisers shouldn’t flock to a platform or channel simply because it’s a shiny new object. However, they should take note. Determine “is this a platform or channel where my target audience is spending time? Do I have the budget to go there?” and if the answer is yes, it’s worth a test.

Facebook has been so dominant in social advertising for a reason, right? That is, it provides some of the best tools and ROI. What’s changing, if anything, and can platforms such as Snap and TikTok compete?

One of the biggest gaps between legacy social platforms like Facebook and Instagram and newer platforms like TikTok and Snapchat is the audience gap. Sure, Facebook and Instagram can replicate the experience of endless short-form video content consumption with Reels and Stories. What they can’t replicate (or haven’t yet) is the Millennial and Gen Z audience that is on the other end of the screen and curating content that keeps people scrolling seamlessly. 

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018 and compiled the daily newsletter since 2016. Joe is a journalist who has written widely about technology, business, and politics. You can contact him at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.