During the second half of 2022, spending on social media advertising in the United Kingdom decreased significantly. This was an unprecedented situation since the Advertising Association (AA) and Warc began measuring such data in 2014.

The author of the report suggested that the downward trend may be worsening, as evidenced by the initial months of 2023. The decrease in spending on social media ads happened at the same time as other big events, including Elon Musk‘s attempted takeover of Twitter in October 2022.

This blog will further examine this phenomenon, as well as the reasons behind the drop and potential implications for businesses.

How much has Ad spend decreased?

Between January and June 2022, there had been a 28.3% rise in the amount of money spent on advertising across social media platforms. The growth followed similar patterns observed after the pandemic. 

However, social media advertising spend saw a decline of 13.9% during the second half of the year.The report shows that social media spend, which falls under the online display category, decreased by 4.9% in the whole year. 

The overall total ad spend grew 8.8% in 2022, and although there was growth, the whole ad spend category only increased by 10%. However it is expected to increase by another 1.7% in 2023. 

Decline in Social Media Ad Spend

Potential reasons why ad spend has decreased

Several companies in the social media industry are being impacted by a decrease in spending, indicating that it’s not a problem limited to one specific area. For example, it is believed that Elon Musk’s unsuccessful attempt to run Twitter successfully had a significant impact on the social media company. 

The problems faced by social media companies have also led to a decrease in advertising spend by businesses on these platforms. Moreover, these trends may be connected to shifts in consumer behaviour following the pandemic. 

In the first half of the year, there was an increase in activity as consumers were adapting to the post-pandemic situation. However, during the second half, things became more stable. People again had greater confidence when interacting with others in person and did not rely as heavily on social media for buying products anymore.

The decline in the time spent on social media

According to another report, the average time people spent on social media decreased from three hours and 16 minutes in 2019 to two hours and 20 minutes in 2022. This means that the usage of social media has decreased, which results in a reduction of advertising revenue for social media platforms.

Currently, there are also some geopolitical factors that could be contributing to the situation, for example, Facebook has banned news in Australia and additionally removed news censorship in China.

How can businesses improve the decreasing ad spend?

Given the current market conditions, businesses must find ways to maximise their ad spend on social media platforms. One way is by focusing on influencer marketing and building relationships with relevant influencers who can promote the business on social media.

Another option is to create content that resonates with your target audience. This will help ensure that your ads are seen by the right people, leading to better conversions. Additionally, businesses can use data-driven insights to optimise their ad campaigns and make sure that they are targeting the right audience.

Finally, businesses should also try to focus on building relationships with customers via social media platforms. By engaging with customers directly, companies can develop trust and loyalty amongst their audiences, which can help drive sales and create a strong foundation for their social media presence.


The decrease in spending on social media advertising is an indicator of the changing dynamics of the industry and consumer behaviour post-pandemic. Businesses need to find ways to maximise ad spend, while also staying up-to-date with the latest trends to engage their audience.

With the right strategy, businesses can ensure that they are gaining maximum returns from their social media ad campaigns.  Ultimately, it is important for businesses to remain agile and stay ahead of the curve in these rapidly changing times.