Ahead of Facebook's earnings report, Adobe released a report Monday that paints a bullish picture of advertising on the social network—on all of social media, actually. What's good for Facebook is good for the greater social space, the Adobe Digital Index suggests. Despite Facebook's dominance, with traffic, ad spend, and click-through-rates on the rise overall, other networks stand to benefit from the flow of ad dollars into social.
"We have this perfect storm of revenue opportunity that Facebook seems to be capitalizing on," Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for the Adobe Digital Index, tells Fast Company. In the last year, Facebook impression volume climbed 85% and clicks rose 29%. Marketers have seen 58% higher return on investment, and the cost per 1,000 impressions has jumped 120% year-over-year. "Marketers are now able to tie revenue to social media advertising on Facebook. Because they can tie that together, they can prove to themselves and their organizations that their budgets are returning great results," she added.
While Facebook leads in share of social referrals at 62%, the competition is catching up. Though its shares remain small, Twitter has seen 258% growth year-over-year with Pinterest up 84% and YouTube up 130%. Again, it's Twitter that's seen the biggest jump in revenue per click, up 300% over the last year to $0.44, compared with Facebook's 39% increase to $0.93 and Pinterest's 150% rise to $0.55.
"I don't think this is bad news at all for Facebook," Gaffney says. "What this means is all marketers will see social media as an imperative and must have. I don't expect money to be traded off. Money will be coming out of other places, like search and display."
Yet the standout star from this report, according to Gaffney, is Tumblr. When analyzing sentiment across various social networks, Adobe found Tumblr to be the most positive. Furthermore, Tumblr suffers from what the index calls the last-click penalty. Analyzing consumers' online shopping habits, the report finds Tumblr often plays a role in the early stage of a person's shopping "journey," but doesn't directly refer shoppers to e-commerce sites. "The beginning of your journey started with social media, but it didn't get any credit," Gaffney explained, noting Tumblr is "450% devalued based on how marketers measure social media" effectiveness on retail sites.
"It's a small network compared with some of the other ones. There's a lot of opportunity with Tumblr that hasn't been recognized," Gaffney says. "As we go into Q4 with holiday shopping and marketing gets placed, it might be an interesting strategy to add Tumblr."