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Looking to Combine Print with Social? Check Out These Data

This article looks at the data from Merkle’s “Digital Marketing Report” (Q1 2019). Specifically, it looks at growth (or lack thereof) in ad spending and impressions for the top social media channels.

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: June 5, 2019

Looking to help your customers add social media marketing into their multichannel mixes? Data from Merkle’s “Digital Marketing Report” (Q1 2019) might be of interest. Of course, evaluation of any trend should be taken in context, so check out the full report. But these numbers are really interesting.

First, spending. Facebook ad spend declined 2% Y/Y, and ads in Newsfeeds declined in CTR for the first time. Meanwhile, in terms of growth, Instagram is eating Facebook’s lunch. Instagram spend grew 44% Y/Y and ad impressions more than doubled (44% for Instagram vs. 15% for Facebook).  Site visits from Instagram also more than doubled Y/Y (+114%).

According to the report:

Facebook continues to be the largest and most widely adopted platform in terms of paid social advertising, but more advertisers are getting active on Instagram over time and investing in meaningful ad spend relative to Facebook proper. For those brands active on both platforms, Instagram advertisers spent 19% as much on Instagram as on Facebook in Q1.

Meanwhile, Pinterest continues to gain traction. While the advertiser base is smaller (largely because Pinterest is still restricted largely to retailers), advertisers spent more and got a lotfor their return — ad spend was up 19% and impressions were up 201%.

YouTube, too, continues its rise. Spending nearly doubled, at 99%, but impressions were up only 71%, so advertisers aren’t getting as much for their money.

YouTube continues to encounter bad publicity surrounding its ability and at times failure to moderate content shared on its platform. Still, advertisers continue to invest in YouTube ads and in developing the creative assets to market effectively on the platform. In Q1 2019, the median advertiser on the platform [which the report qualifies as “since at least last Q1 last year”] roughly doubled its spend.

Overall, paid social (24%) outpaces paid display (12%).

To get a copy of the full report, click here.

Y/Y Growth in Impressions


Ad Spend














Source: “Merkle Digital Marketing Report” (Q1 2019)

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications. Her Marketer’s Primer Series, availalbe through Digital Printing Reports, includes “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” 1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance,” “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing.”


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