Trust issues: 77% of marketers name a drop in consumer trust as biggest issue for social media advertising

Survey of marketing experts reveals that nine in 10 still plan to use social media to advertise this year, but most platforms will see a drop in advertising or monetising content.

Trust is set to be one of the biggest barriers to overcome when advertising on social media this year, according to a survey of media experts.

More than three quarters (77%) said that eroding consumer trust on major social media platforms will negatively impact their media spend. And in a continued desire for more transparency about the quality of their marketing, 66% said that media spend will be impacted by insufficient media quality metric transparency within social media platforms.

Integral Ad Science’s (IAS) 2023 Industry Pulse Report revealed that Facebook was the social platform most likely to see adjusted spend as a result of falling consumer trust (49% of respondents) followed by Twitter (38%) and Instagram (34%). The report polled more than 350 digital media experts across brands, agencies, publishers and ad tech vendors.

But all platforms saw significant falls in the number of respondents saying that spend will be adjusted due to eroding consumer trust, highlighting that the impact of trust on ad spend may be less of an issue than last year.

The survey found that nearly six in 10 respondents (58%) will prioritise contextual targeting to combat consumer privacy issues and cookie depreciation – while still targeting desired audiences at scale.

A slightly smaller proportion (57%) said they will be focusing on driving attention towards ads or increasing outcomes including clicks or conversions, while brand risk mitigation (56%) and ad fraud prevention (54%) also remained high priorities.

Khurrum Malik, Chief Marketing Officer of IAS said: “Marketers can’t turn away from the allure of reach and engagement that social media can provide. This love/worry relationship highlights the need for increased transparency for social media advertisers.”

Social media still platforms of choice

More than nine in 10 of those polled by IAS said they planned to advertise on social media platforms in 2023.

But there was a significant reported decrease in monetisation intent across most of the major platforms – with 52% of respondents saying they planned to buy advertising or monetise content on Facebook, compared to 71% last year. YouTube saw a decline from 69% in 2022 to 50% this year, while monetisation intent remained level for Twitter (46% both years) – though IAS pointed out that the fieldwork for the survey was largely done before the platform’s ownership change.

Facebook and YouTube remain the top platforms for monetisation intent, but WhatsApp was the only platform to see an increase in 2023 from 2022 – at 2% year-on-year.

Shifts to digital

Seven in 10 of those surveyed by IAS agreed that audio listeners will continue to migrate to digital formats, but 66% are concerned about ad fraud in digital audio while 55% are fearful of brand risk.

Despite this, digital audio is topping the priorities list for spend this year, with 54% saying they plan to prioritise this format, followed by 50% for digital video and 48% for social media.

The metaverse was highlighted as an opportunity for innovation, with around a third of experts citing the emerging platform as having strong potential. Video game advertising also holds opportunities, the survey found, with publishers particularly highlighting this channel as an opportunity (34%) and 19% across all those surveyed saying they planned to prioritise ads in video game environments in 2023.

Four in 10 (44%) agreed that CTV and digital video hold the most potential for innovation in the coming year.

Meanwhile, across all those polled, decreasing access to consumer data tops the list of challenges for their organisation this year, cited by 51% of buy side and ad tech respondents, and 40% of publishers.

Publishers ranked their second top challenge as choosing and integrating identity systems (36%) while buy side and ad tech respondents were more concerned with ads being placed alongside risky or misleading content (33%).