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US Social Spend Breakouts Show Rising Influence of Mobile, Local Outreach

Native advertising is also showing significant growth

Three major trends are driving some of the biggest changes in social ad spend and helping kick up growth: the mobile channel, local outreach and native ad formats. Estimates from BIA/Kelsey released in its “Annual US Local Media Forecast: Social Local Media 2012-2017” report showed that the firm expected social media ad spending in the US to total $6.1 billion this year—and be just shy of $11 billion in 2017.

But how that total is distributed is beginning to change as more marketers take up some of these new social advertising opportunities.

BIA/Kelsey expected local social ad spending to grow by 45.5% in 2013 and reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.4% between 2012 and 2017. This year, local spend is expected to account for about one-quarter of social ad spending. By 2017, national spending will still dominate social spending, but local’s portion will rise to one-third.

Native formats have also risen to the surface as one of the most important social ad developments, led by new offerings from Facebook and Twitter. Advertisers have been quick to purchase Sponsored Stories and Promoted Tweets, both of which are seamlessly integrated into the user experience.

Breaking down that $6.1 billion between display and native ad spending, the study predicted that this year native spending will account for nearly 40% of total spend. (Differences in totals between the various breakdowns is the result of rounding.) The remaining 60% will go to traditional social display spending. Native formats will grow by 45% in 2013, and growth will remain in the double digits through 2017. However, native’s portion of the total is expected to remain fairly flat.

Mobile is the key trend, though, driving much of the change in digital advertising, and its influence will bring more marketer dollars into the mobile-social fold over the coming years. Mobile-social spend is expected to rise by a CAGR of 30% over the forecast period. Last year, mobile accounted for 13% of social spend; in 2017, it will account for one out of five US social dollars, according to BIA/Kelsey, at $2.2 billion.

eMarketer’s estimate for total US social spending in 2013 is lower than BIA/Kelsey’s, predicted to reach $4.16 billion this year. Both firms expect growth of approximately 30% this year.


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