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  • Writer's pictureTGW

Social Media Ad Growth Is Slowing. What This Means For Small Business.

Just had an opportunity to read through Magna's advertising forecast for June 2022. Between client saturation, audience saturation, and increased targeting restrictions, Magna has cut its 2022 outlook for worldwide social media ad spend to 11%.

So what does this mean for small business owners? Absolutely nothing. So why not sit back and enjoy Rick Astley's classic hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up"?

Still here? I guess you want some context. According to Magna:

  • Client saturation. In advanced mature markets, the social media budgets of consumer brands have reached a scale where any further growth comes under more financial scrutiny and becomes more vulnerable to current or anticipated business outlook. In 2020-21, millions of small businesses kick-started social media marketing during and after COVID. This is still happening in 2022, but at a slower pace.

  • Audience saturation. Reach and time spent with social apps are nearly saturated in all advanced markets (Western World, China), and advertising growth in 2021 was almost entirely driven by pricing rather than volume. The plateauing in usage and ad impressions is increasingly clear this year, and incumbent players have reported declines in some mature markets.

  • Targeting Restrictions: Since Mid-2021 the new Apple policy allowed millions of social media app users to opt out from sharing their device IDs and therefore prevented them from being targeted based on their data. Furthermore, it was difficult to tell what products users exposed to social media campaigns were purchasing because of that advertising spending. The impact was gradual: it started to visibly affect attractiveness and ad sales around the end of 2021, particularly for Meta and Snap.

Quite honestly, this doesn't have much to do with small business. I very much doubt that we have reached any point of market saturation as small businesses (I think that the only SMB that has come close to reaching market saturation is probably the WD-40 Company). So the only possible barrier here, are the targeting restrictions as laid out by Apple's new policy.

While there are some definite instances where paid campaigns on social media might be beneficial for small businesses, I generally only recommend paid campaigns for small businesses in very small doses. In most instances, I adhere to organic growth (Hand's up if you've heard me prattle on about building community before). By using more organic strategies, in most cases, your audience has already opted in. So, Apple's targeting restrictions also, don't really apply.

Continue focusing on that organic growth and you won't have to worry about saturation. And it's always a good idea to enjoy some Rick Astley.


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