The Theory of Social Media Evolution

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution argues that only the fittest survive – and while he may not have coined the idea with Social Networks in mind – it certainly holds true. Since the turn of the millennium, we’ve seen the rise and fall of many platforms (RIP MySpace), and Social Media landscape is constantly evolving. In this article we will explore social media evolution, including:

  • The current social media landscape
  • How video is becoming central to social platforms
  • What’s next for the world of social?

Did you know?

The average internet user now spends 15 minutes longer each day on social platforms than they do watching TV. Facebook and YouTube dominate the market, but platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are becoming increasingly popular. The below chart illustrates this, showing the usage by platform from 2016 to 2018:

Global advertising spend on social media platforms is forecasted to rise to $58 billion in 2018, up 20% from last year. The majority of this is due to go into Facebook and YouTube, but the growth of Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat is likely to push increased investment in these channels as well.

Clearly, Social Media is no longer simply used to stay connected with friends. Not only has there been increased advertising spend, but the numbers of influencers, celebrity-sponsored products and social media takeovers have also grown beyond belief.

Social Media statistics are now even being used for business evaluation purposes, with Manchester United’s Chief Executive recently referencing his club’s Social Media performance heavily when declaring their quarterly accounts – using the statistics to evidence Brand growth and help to attract big-name transfer targets.

Video Ga Ga

Online and Mobile video advertising has been key in pushing the Social Media advertising space to new realms. eMarketer forecasts social video ad spending to reach $11.7 billion in the US alone by 2020, double the 2017 total of $5.7 billion. The growth of video-based platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat seen above seems to justify this significant leap.

In fact, an experiment conducted by iab. in April this year found that the largest chunk of video ad spend will go into Social Media channels in 2018:

Advertisers appear to be taking advantage of the growing opportunities to get video adverts out there – and why not? People want to be entertained, and video ads tend to have a higher chance of achieving this. Also, we know that video ads generally have a much longer memory-effect and can get across much more information than a static ad can ever dream of.

But not only are consumers looking to be entertained, they’re also very much willing to use these platforms to purchase. Curalate found that a whopping 76% of US consumers have purchased a product they saw in a Social Media. This is likely to be a product of both the growing use of Social Networks and the fact that marketers are getting better and better at targeting their potential customers.

What’s next?

As seen above, there has been a lot going on in the world of Social Networks in recent years. But here’s 3 things we expect in the future:

1. Social will get much closer to Search in terms of product research: Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are commonly used to follow companies directly, as well as celebrities showcasing the latest products available. Brightblue’s measurement continues to evolve to ensure we are accurately capturing the new advertising opportunities on social platforms.

2. Instagram will continue to grow: between March and September 2017, the number of monthly advertisers on Instagram doubled to 2 million, with advertising on Instagram being driven by a combination of display advertising and influencer marketing. Brightblue have experience measuring the effectiveness of both of these advertising platforms – with accurate data being an important driver of measurement capability.

3. Chatbots will be used more and more: In a bid to transition consumers towards social commerce, we expect this to involve making it easier for consumers to ask questions, process digital payments and get automatic updates on delivery status.

Get in touch

Interested to find out more about how Brightblue can help to measure the effectiveness of Social Media? Get in contact via email by clicking here or call us on +44 (0)203 475 7004.


Brightblue Consulting are a London based consultancy which help businesses drive incremental profit from their data. We provide predictive analytics that enable clients to make informed decisions based on data and industry knowledge. Through Market Mix Modelling, a strand of Econometrics, Brightblue has a proven track record showing a 30% improvement in marketing Return on Investment for clients’ spend.


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