Social media ads 'justifying hype' as ZenithOptimedia lifts internet forecast

Social media advertising is "justifying its hype", according to ZenithOptimedia, which has revised its forecast upwards for global internet spend, in large part due to the flow of budgets to the format.

Forecast: ZenithOptimedia revises its prediction for global internet spend
Forecast: ZenithOptimedia revises its prediction for global internet spend

The Publicis Groupe-owned media agency has boosted the forecast it issued in December for 2012 global internet adspend, by 4.5%.

The sudden rise of social is evident in a revision to its US forecasts, which had pegged social media spend for 2012 at $1.33bn (£851m) in December, but now predicts $3.42bn (£2.2bn).

Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at ZenithOptimedia, said this was partly due to $1bn (£640m) of display spend being recategorised as social media spend, and partly due to the medium growing faster than previously thought.

Barnard told Media Week: "Social is justifying its hype now. A third of all display impressions in the US are social. Advertisers are learning to be less interruptive."

He added the revised perspective of how much social media was growing and contributing to larger markets had a knock-on effect on the forecast for 2012 overall internet adspend across the world, which is up from $84.3bn (£53.9bn) in December to $88.1bn (£56.3bn). (The agency does not give a breakdown for social media in its global forecast.)

In its review of the US, the agency comments: "Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all building platforms that are attractive to small businesses, in addition to Fortune 500 companies.

"Social media is creating a new type of advertiser that did not advertise before, including individuals and content creators.

"Social media ads should also be expected to increase in price, based on current patterns, the influx of new advertisers, new creative formats, and improved targeting."

Zenith has also nudged up its forecast for 2012 global adspend growth across all media after turning more optimistic about Latin America, although it downgraded Western Europe.

Follow Daniel Farey-Jones on Twitter @danfareyjones

League Tables
Advertising expenditure by medium (US $ million, current prices)
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Newspapers 94,871 91,742 89,953 88,946 88,480
Magazines 43,643 43,003 42,137 41,741 41,674
Television 176,820 183,681 193,660 203,444 215,298
Radio 32,013 32,884 33,633 34,799 35,828
Cinema 2,319 2,474 2,643 2,848 3,055
Outdoor 29,722 31,315 32,862 34,413 36,108
Internet 65,009 75,748 88,065 102,363 118,943
Total 444,397 460,847 482,983 508,555 539,386

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