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Instagram, video and image-focused product ads drove social ad spending growth; mobile shopping campaigns remained the fastest-growing segment in paid search; e-commerce ads grew 5x in 2018

San Francisco (January 24, 2019) Kenshoo, a global leader in marketing technology, today released a new report, The Skai Q4 2018 Quarterly Trends Report, and accompanying infographic, detailing Q4 spending growth in social (31%) and search (14%) year-over-year (YoY), while e-commerce channel ads (ECA) grew 5x since January 2018.


  • Monthly spending on ECA increased 5X since January 2018
  • The majority of Instagram spending growth is coming from advertisers who have been on Instagram for at least five quarters
  • Three out of every four search shopping impressions occur on a mobile phone
  • Pinterest spending grew by 58% in Q4 compared to the previous quarter, while engagement increased ahead of the holiday season

Key findings include:

  • Social spending increased 31% YoY and 19% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ)
  • Social impressions increased 15% YoY and 1% QoQ
  • Social clicks increased 8% YoY and decreased 8% QoQ
  • Social CTR decreased 4% YoY and 8% QoQ
  • Social cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions increased 14% YoY and 18% QoQ
  • Paid search spending increased 14% YoY and 19% QoQ
  • Paid search impressions increased 47% YoY and 31% QoQ
  • Paid search clicks increased 31% YoY and 16% QoQ
  • Paid search CTR decreased 12% both YoY and QoQ
  • Paid search CPC decreased 13% YoY and increased 2% QoQ

“For every dollar spent on Instagram by a new advertiser in 2018, existing advertisers increased spending by $4.00, meaning the majority of Instagram spending growth to date has come from advertisers who have been on Instagram for at least five quarters. There’s been a lot of chatter that the growth in Instagram advertising has come at the expense of Facebook, but Skai advertisers still value both properties,” said Chris Costello, senior director of marketing research for Skai. “What we do see is advertisers taking advantage of targeted ad types and audiences across the Facebook ecosystem that may achieve their goals with less incremental investment, and the net result is ad revenue growth rates that largely reflect market expectations.”

Kenshoo provides best-of-breed, full-funnel marketing activation on the channels with highest customer engagement, including search, social, and ecommerce, enabling success by maximizing channel impact and customer lifetime value. As the industry’s leading and award-winning digital marketing platform, Skai delivers opportunities to re-engage and grow customers across the world’s leading publishers and all devices.

Visit to download the full report or to view the infographic.

Except where noted, analysis is based on Skai advertisers with 15 consecutive months of performance data taken from a population of over 3,000 advertiser and agency accounts across 20 vertical industries and over 60 countries, spanning Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Japan, Pinterest, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network. Some outliers have been excluded. The resulting sample includes more than 600 billion impressions, 14 billion clicks and $6 billion (USD) in advertiser spending.

Ad spending and CPC are measured using Ex-FX or “Constant Currency” adjustments, where results are based on native currency, and only translated to common currency after aggregation.

About Skai
Skai is the leading technology platform for brands looking to plan, activate and amplify effective marketing across the most-engaging digital channels. Skai offers the only marketing solution that provides data-driven insights and optimization technology to help make informed decisions and scale performance across Google, Facebook, Bing, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, Yandex, Yahoo Japan, and Baidu. Skai’s machine-learning algorithms and cutting-edge AI enable companies to predict and keep in-step with the ever-changing consumer journey. With 27 international locations and backed by Sequoia Capital, Arts Alliance, Tenaya Capital, and Bain Capital Ventures, Skai generates over $350 billion in annualized revenue for the world’s top brands. Please visit for more information.

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