Despite a decline earlier in the year due to the pandemic, digital ad spend increased 12.2 percent year-over-year in 2020, giving major advertisers like Google and Facebook a greater share of the pie. With users spending more time than ever on social media and online shopping, eMarketer estimates US digital ad spending will grow 25.5 percent, the fastest growth rate since 2018.
With the proliferation of audio-only platforms and the gradual return to offices amid rising vaccination rates, though, how effective are Facebook ads now compared to ads on Snapchat, podcasts and television? MediaRadar’s latest analysis answers that question with insights from Q1 on how ads from each channel mentioned measure up to ads on Facebook, where 48 percent of advertisers were exclusive in Q1.
MediaRadar first set out to understand the top four categories of advertisers on Facebook in Q1. According to the study, those categories include entertainment, retail, professional services and tech; collectively accounting for nearly 65 percent of all advertisers on Facebook in Q1.
Retail saw the largest volume of advertisers on Facebook in Q1: 4,600 according to MediaRadar’s study. Brands that exclusively advertised on Facebook make up 56 percent of the retail category, with auto dealerships being the top retail brands advertising in Q1. These included Mercedes-Benz of Des Moines, Kansas City Honda Dealers, Audi Layton and Cook Subaru.
It was entertainment companies, however, that spent the most on Facebook ads in Q1, namely Disney+, HBO Max, Discovery+, Sling TV and Amazon Prime Video. Of all the ad spend that quarter, streaming companies comprised 7 percent.
The largest spikes in ad spend in Q1 2021 came from smaller categories. For example, spend in food, restaurant and bar categories increased 303 percent YoY that quarter. The restaurant and bar category surged to an all-time high of $184 million in Q1.
According to the analysis, in Q1, 48 percent of Facebook campaigns lasted one month, 38 percent lasted between two to four months, 10 percent lasted between five to seven months, 5 percent lasted between eight to 10 months and 4 percent lasted between 11 to 12 months.
As for how advertising on Facebook measured up to advertising with TV broadcasters, MediaRadar found that the percentage of overlap between advertisers on NBC and Fox and advertisers on Facebook in Q4 2020 was identical—34 percent. As the study notes, this may reflect Facebook’s pursuit of linear TV advertisers versus any single channel. In addition, Facebook overlap with broadcast advertisers is on the rise YoY comparing Q1 2020 to Q1 2021, which may suggest Facebook is getting better at attracting these advertisers.
Facebook has launched several new audio products in order to compete with the likes of Apple podcasts and Clubhouse. For example, it recently started rolling out Live Audio Rooms and in-stream podcasts. MediaRadar’s analysis found that in Q1 of 2021, the top 10 spending advertisers on podcasts that overlapped on Facebook accounted for 15 percent of all podcasting ad spend. And, correlating spend on Facebook accounted for less than 1 percent of Q1 spend. Lastly, in Q1 2021, 29 percent of podcast advertisers overlapped with Facebook advertisers, according to the report.
The report showed that the overlap in advertisers on Snapchat and Facebook between January 2020 and March 2021 was 22 percent, with the lowest amount of overlap having occurred in February 2020, at 14 percent. The low amount of overlap could be the result of Snapchat having added new features, such as a ‘Sounds’ option that lets users add song clips to their videos, to woo Gen Z.