BIA/Kelsey has released the latest wave of its U.S. Social Local Media Forecast for 2013-2018, and unsurprisingly, the two drivers accelerating advertising spend are mobile platforms and native formats.
The overall social advertising market will surge from $8.4 billion this year to $15 billion by 2018. That same year native will account for nearly two-thirds of all social advertising ($9.4 billion), and mobile will represent more than half of it ($7.6 billion). Native social advertising revenues will eclipse social display next year. Meanwhile, mobile will reach a similar inflection point with desktop in 2018.
Of course the two trends are closely correlated. Mobile use of social networks continues to grow, and as it does, the networks are building monetizable mobile-first experiences. Those ad concepts are predominantly (and in many cases exclusively) native formats that integrate in-stream into organic content.
Take Facebook as a prime example. In just over a year, the company has activated a non-existent mobile advertising business into now more than 50 percent of total revenues. This number will continue to escalate. The formats driving this growth are entirely native News Feed ads.
Compared to mobile and native, location-targeted social advertising is growing less dramatically, as many social platforms have been slower to introduce high-performing local solutions (i.e. more granular geo-targeting). Some still offer only brand advertising. However, BIA/Kelsey still projects locally-targeted social ad spend to grow from $2.4 billion this year to $5.2 billion by 2018, a 31.6 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate). This projection could be lifted in future waves as a greater push into location targeting is made and more small businesses onboard.
BIA/Kelsey clients can access the full forecast here.