WARC Media: social media now largest channel worldwide

Global social spend to total $247.3bn with Meta accounting for 63% of the market

WARC’s newest Global Advertising Trends report demonstrates social media’s dominance of the global media landscape.

According to the latest forecasts, social media is now the largest channel worldwide by advertising investment, having overtaken paid search last year, and is forecast to total $247.3bn in 2024, up 14.3% year-on-year. Western platforms account for much of this growth, fuelled by Chinese brands targeting US and European audiences.

The latest forecast puts Meta in the lead, representing 63% of global social spend, fuelled by a wave of investment from Chinese exporters and the popularity of its AI tools. The company is projected to earn $155.6bn in ad revenue this year. WARC Media predicts that Meta will overtake global linear TV in advertising spend terms in 2025.

TikTok will earn $23.1bn this year, states the report, assuming the US ban does not come into effect. The China-based tech company’s year-on-year growth rate will slow down from 87.8% in 2023 to 18.3% in 2024. Pinterest and Snapchat are set to record strong growth at 17.3% and 13.7% respectively, while X’s ad revenue will decline by 6.4% globally.

Alex Brownsell, Head of Content, WARC Media, says: “Much of social media’s success has been driven by Meta’s remarkable renaissance. However, social’s stronghold on budgets can also be seen in TikTok’s rise, and a return to double digit ad revenue growth at Snapchat and Pinterest.

However, with this dominance comes challenges, such as rising advertising loads in social environments, and the impact of AI on media planning. In this report, we take a holistic view of the global social media landscape, which shows no sign of losing momentum.