Digiday+ Research: Agencies’ attitudes on secondary social platforms have seen ups and downs (especially on Twitter)

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Facebook, Instagram, even TikTok — we all know marketers are investing in these platforms. But what about Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and other, secondary social platforms?

Digiday+ Research surveyed over 100 agency professionals, and found that agency clients’ approach to the channels categorized as “other social platforms” has been somewhat erratic over the last year.

Over time, agency clients have spent fairly consistently on the social platforms categorized as “other,” Digiday’s survey found. All in all, 86% of agency pros said their clients spend at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets on social platforms outside of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok — a very small change from the 83% who said so a year ago.

Agency clients who spend a small or moderate portion on these other social platforms accounted for the largest groups of respondents as of Q1 of this year at 27% each, followed by those who spend a very small portion of their budgets on other social platforms at 24%. Only 5% of agency pros told Digiday their clients spend a large portion of their budgets outside of the mainstream social platforms, and an even smaller 4% said their clients spend a very large portion of their budgets there.

Interestingly, the percentage of agency clients who spend a moderate amount on these other social platforms has risen steadily over the last year. In Q1 2022, 18% of agency pros told Digiday their clients spend a moderate amount on social platforms outside of TikTok, Meta and YouTube, which rose to 23% in Q3 2022, and then rose again to 27% in Q1 2023.

Meanwhile, agency clients who spend a large portion of their marketing budgets on other social platforms fell significantly in the last six months after seeing a bump. In Q1 of this year, 5% of agency pros told Digiday their clients spend a large portion on these other social platforms, down from 13% in Q3 of last year. In Q1 of last year, 9% of agency pros said this.

Overall, agencies are confident that these other social platforms drive marketing success for their clients — which backs up their rate of spending on these channels. And their confidence has seen a jump in the last year. In Q1 2022, 79% of agency pros said they were at least slightly confident that Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter and other social platforms drove marketing success for their clients. That percentage rose to 87% in Q3 2022, and remained steady at 86% in Q1 of this year.

And agencies are more than just a little confident in these other social platforms. More than a third of agency pros (37%) told Digiday this quarter that they’re somewhat confident in their ability to drive marketing success (as opposed to slightly confident). This group accounted for the largest percentage of respondents, followed by those who said they’re only slightly confident in other social channels (29% of agency pros said this).

Meanwhile, 15% of agency pros told Digiday in Q1 of this year that they’re confident that Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter and other non-Meta, non-YouTube social platforms drive marketing success for their clients, and just 5% said they’re very confident.

However, it is worth noting that agency pros’ confidence in these other social platforms has been erratic over the last year and a half — which perhaps makes sense, considering how dynamic the category of “other social platforms” tends to be. As marketers know very well, these channels can change from week to week, let alone from one six-month period to another. And this has been reflected in Digiday’s survey data over the last 18 months.

Getting specific about the “other” social platforms that agency clients are investing in, Digiday’s survey found that the highest percentage of respondents said their clients invest in Pinterest and Twitter, as of Q1 of this year. To be exact, 69% of agency pros said their clients spend at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets on Pinterest, and 65% spend at least a very small portion on Twitter.

It’s very important to note, though, that before Q1 of this year, Twitter was the most invested-in other social platform among agency clients. A year ago, 75% of agency pros said their clients spent at least a very small amount on the platform, and that percentage actually rose to 81% six months ago — before falling to 65% as of the beginning of this year. I’m sure we can all guess what likely brought about this change.

Twitter has also seen some drop-offs in other spending categories over the last six months. In Q3 of last year 29% of agency pros said their clients spent a small portion of their marketing budgets on the platform. That percentage fell to 20% in Q1 of this year (although this percentage is on par with Q1 of last year, as well). And those who said their clients spend a moderate portion on Twitter saw a similar pattern: 6% said this in Q1 2022, which jumped to 14% in Q3 2022, before falling again to 7% in Q1 2023.

Interestingly, Snapchat has seen a big bump in investment among agency clients compared with a year ago. In Q1 2022, fewer than half of agency pros (49%) told Digiday that their clients spend at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets on the platform. That percentage rose very significantly to nearly two-thirds (63%) in Q3 2022, and remained there at 62% in Q1 2023.

Meanwhile, Reddit is still the least invested-in among the social platforms categorized as “other,” but it turns out that’s significantly less so now than six months ago — meaning that there are indications that more agency clients are testing the advertising waters on the platform. In Q3 2022, just 38% of agency pros said their clients invested at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets in the platform (which was consistent with the 35% who had said so in Q1 2022). In Q1 of this year, 48% said their clients put at least a little bit of money into Reddit. And the percentage of agency pros who said their clients spend a very small amount on the platform grew from 18% in Q1 2022 to 29% in Q3 2022, remaining steady at 28% in Q1 2023.

And one final note: Zero respondents said in Q1 of this year that their clients invest a very large portion of their marketing budgets in any of these social platforms in the “other” category.

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