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Social network ad spending growth tumbling in 2022

The news: The days of heady increases in ad spending on US social networks look to be ending, leading to a dramatic revision in our growth forecast.

  • Marketers are expected to spend $65.31 billion on social networks this year. While that will represent 3.6% growth over 2021, it’s a dramatic reduction of nearly $10 billion from our March 2022 expectation of $74.56 billion.
  • While growth will pick up in the next two years—led mostly by TikTok and a surge in social video advertising—the $79.28 billion we project in 2024 will be more than $20 billion below our March 2022 expectation.

The downgrade in our forecast represents a stark reversal for the digital advertising industry, which benefited from heavy investment in online ads during the pandemic but is now being pummeled by rising interest rates, fallout from Apple’s privacy changes, and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

  • A year ago, companies like Facebook parent Meta and Snap Inc reported double-digit percentage increases in quarterly revenues; in the most recent third quarter, Meta’s revenues and net income dropped and Snap’s revenues trailed analysts’ estimates.

Winners and losers: The challenges tied to the current economic uncertainty are expected to weigh on social networks into the new year, but some platforms will fare better than others.

  • TikTok will post the strongest gain in ad revenues among social networks operating in the US even as it faces more government pressure.
  • Meta will falter as Facebook posts its first-ever annual decline in revenues. Twitter’s revenue growth will also slow in 2022, 2023, and 2024; the company bought by Elon Musk is expected to lose 30 million users over the next two years.

Go further: To learn more about changes afoot in the social advertising ecosystem, read our Social Network Ad Spending Forecast.