Survey: Marketers reducing ad platform investments

Marketers plan to invest in fewer advertising platforms over the next 12 months than at the beginning of the year, according to an ongoing survey of Search Engine Land readers.

Of the 16 ad platforms we asked about, fewer respondents said they expect to invest on 12 in the third quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of this year.

Only Meta, Microsoft, and Microsoft’s LinkedIn will get more investment from advertisers, according to the survey. The number planning to invest with TikTok will be flat.

Search engines. More advertisers plan to invest dollars with Microsoft properties than at the beginning of the year. Investment with Google will be flat.

Fewer advertisers expect to invest with Apple in app store placements. Nine percentage points fewer respondents said they will invest with Apple in the third quarter compared to the first, the most significant change for any platform included in the survey.

(Note: Google and Microsoft responses included their other advertising options, e.g. YouTube and Start.)

Social platforms. Meta was the platform experiencing the largest increase in expected investment of all of the platforms included in the survey. Seven percentage points more respondents said they expected to advertise on Meta in the third quarter than in the first.

Those predicting dollars earmarked for Pinterest and X declined 6 percentage points.

Retail platforms. Counter to the reports of explosive growth at shopping sites (a.k.a., retail media networks), fewer Search Engine Land readers said they’d be investing in those platforms (Amazon, Instacart, Walmart) in the third quarter compared to the first. We’re expecting that trend to reverse in the make-or-break ecommerce fourth quarter.

Fewer respondents will invest in all three of the audio/video platforms included in the survey (Spotify, Hulu, Netflix).

Why we care. It’s difficult to wrap your head around survey results that seem to contradict earnings reports and prevailing wisdom so profoundly. The reality is it likely says more about the mindset of the Search Engine Land audience than anything else.

Our conclusion is, that when faced with diminishing budgets and the difficult choices they create, the Search Engine Land audience chooses to invest in the platforms that have delivered results over the years, i.e. Google.

Investing in less proven platforms will have to wait for more prosperous times.

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