CNBC is reporting that despite a year of scandals for social media giant Facebook, advertisers are still flocking to the company, and user base and ad revenues continue to grow.
2018 was a tough year for Facebook. The company dealt with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where a political consulting firm collected 50 million people’s data without permission, as well as reports in the media that Facebook was trying to control the dialogue around all of its issues. The company even dealt with reports that it had a relationship with an opposition research firm in Washington.
Despite all of the negative publicity, Facebook is as popular and profitable as ever, so advertisers are not eager to leave the platform.
Facebook said its total ad revenue grew 38 percent in 2018 to $55 billion, while net digital ad revenue in the whole country grew 36 percent, to $23.66 billion, according to eMarketer. Meanwhile, Facebook’s net digital ad revenue grew from 19.8 percent in 2017 to 21.8 percent in 2018, and is predicted to reach 22.9 percent by 2021. Also, Facebook’s monthly user base grew by 9 percent to 2.32 billion last year.
Shuman Sahu, director of performance media at digital marketing agency Nina Hale, said, “It just makes sense to always recommend that to our clients. We definitely don’t exclude Facebook because of the scrutiny they’ve gone through.”
Tom Buontempo, president of social media agency Attention, noted that brands might actually be spending more on the platform than before. “More of our clients are spending more across the Facebook ecosystem,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of options right now.”
GroupM’s Global President of Business Intelligence Brian Wieser said a brand would have to believe Facebook would hurt it by association in order to leave the network. “Individual advertisers can be concerned about all of these things and they’re very alert to these things now in ways they weren’t two years ago – that doesn’t mean they’re changing what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re just very, very aware and very mindful that things could get much worse for them in terms of their association.”