Online advertising growth at big tech firms has flatlined, with real-term declines at Meta and YouTube. The weakness is concentrated in higher funnel ads.

Advertising is a leading indicator. A hardware slowdown is coming, services growth is stuttering, and businesses will want to save on cloud services.

Investors are hostile to attempts to spend through a downturn, but competition from TikTok and developments in AI demand targeted investment, while Meta is pot-committed to the metaverse. Tech giants are looking for savings elsewhere.
 

60% of Chinese online ad spend is directly driven by ecommerce, compared to 40% in the West. The gap will close as content and ads move closer to transactions.

General search engines are not central to the customer journey in China: Baidu fell below 10% of online advertising last year, compared to Google’s c.55% share in the UK.

The Chinese model now has a vector to the rest of the world in the form of TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance added more retail GMV in China than Alibaba last year. TikTok wants to grow video shopping in the West, targeting a huge $470 billion in transactions by 2027.

With viewing to traditional broadcast TV continuing to shrink rapidly, especially among under-45s, our latest forecasts revise a new low for broadcasters’ audiences: falling to just half of all video viewing in 2027, down from 63% today.

Long-form, broadcast-quality content will increasingly be viewed on SVOD-first services (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Disney+) as online habits solidify, especially among older audiences. Platforms offering different content (e.g. YouTube, Twitch, TikTok) will continue to grow their share and will also expand total watch-time.

We forecast that under-35s will spend just a tenth to a fifth of their video time with broadcasters’ traditional long-form content five years from now, versus a third to a half for 35-54s and 85% for over-65s.

Meta suffered its first year-on-year revenue decline in Q2, as long-standing challenges crystalise and an economic slowdown in the US dents display ad spend. 

In response, Meta is retooling its products to neutralise threats from post-social competitors like TikTok, and trying to minimise the impact of data restrictions. 

The long-term pivot to the metaverse is Zuckerberg's next big bet, but funding it depends on core business strength. 

YouTube’s tepid quarter signals a two-track online ad economy with advertisers protecting search spend as an essential cost of sales while cutting online display.

YouTube faces a challenge to strengthen its brand and direct response ad products while sacrificing some income to Shorts, its answer to competition from TikTok, which we estimate added three times as much ad revenue as YouTube in H1.

Beyond the short term, brands need to generate new demand, and that cannot be accomplished at the bottom of the funnel.

A forthcoming UK regime on the relationship between publishers and platforms, certain to include Google and Facebook, will seek to replicate the payments achieved in Australia. However, the principles, design and precise process are still to be revealed by the Government

Facebook’s News Tab and Google’s News Showcase license content from publishers (including paywalled content) and direct traffic to their sites, although industry tensions remain high

Google Search is the elephant in the room because, while Facebook is a service to its users, search is a utility: making news more important to its offering, and explaining why Google’s commitment to the news industry runs deeper—and for the long term

On 12 May 2022, Enders Analysis co-hosted the annual Media and Telecoms 2022 & Beyond conference with Deloitte, sponsored by Barclays, Financial Times, Meta, and Deloitte Legal

With up to 500 attendees and over 40 speakers from the TMT sectors, including leading executives, policy leaders, and industry experts, the conference focused on regulation, infrastructure, and how new technologies will impact the future of the sector

These are edited transcripts of Sessions 4-6 covering: European media, sustainability in the TMT sector, and advertising mega-trends. Videos of the presentations are also available on the conference website

Rising online ad prices mean customer acquisition costs have spiked for D2C businesses, which already had a higher marketing spend base than offline equivalents.

At the same time, the data used to target and measure online advertising—the key channel to find and convert customers—is being eroded.

There will be consolidation in the crowded D2C landscape, providing scale benefits. Sellers will also have to refocus their marketing attention on increasing customer lifetime value.

The EU’s GDPR enforcers have ruled that IAB Europe’s framework for collecting user consent, a standard used by about 80% of sites on the continent, is in violation of the regulations

This is one of the clearest signs yet that regulation is starting to catch up with Apple and Google’s privacy push, as support for cookies and mobile ad IDs is due to end over the next few years

Publishers must prepare now by treating privacy as a core part of user experience and adopting a reader-first revenue model that also supports advertising in a trusted environment

Meta presented mixed results against low expectations, with its ad business a concern in the age of privacy.

Reels is at the core of the company’s strategy to win users given heightened competition, but its monetisation challenge persists.

Meta spent $3.7 billion on its metaverse gamble in the quarter. A higher-end device will help address strengthening enterprise demand for VR headsets, but the route to profitability remains unclear.