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The state of Meta advertising and why Reels is one to watch

Though Meta advertising may be taking a hit in terms of lower impressions and rising CPMs, Tinuiti research finds a bright spot in Instagram Reels.

3 min read


The state of play of Meta advertising and why Reels is one to watch


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Advertising investment across Meta properties have fallen for the first time, according to Tinuiti’s latest Facebook Ads Benchmark Report.

The report found ad impressions on Facebook are higher than Instagram for the first time, but notes that Instagram Reels is one format marketers should be prioritizing.

Where advertisers are spending and what it costs

Advertising spend across Meta properties – Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Meta Audience Network — fell 1% year-over-year during this year’s second quarter, the first decline ever among Tinuiti advertisers. 

Impressions dropped 7% from the same period in 2021, and CPMs were up 6%, compared to being up 33% in the first quarter. 

Facebook ad spending among Tinuiti advertisers outpaced Instagram for the first time ever.

Facebook ad impressions were up 4% in the second quarter, the first year-on-year growth since last year’s first quarter. Ad impressions on Instagram meanwhile were down 27% year-over-year in stark contrast to 75% growth during the same period last year. 

The cost of advertising on both platforms was up during the second quarter, with a 44% increase in Facebook CPM compared to two years ago and a 68% rise for Instagram CPM. 

Instagram Reels makes gains

Meta’s answer to TikTok, Instagram Reels, already accounts for 20% of the time people spend on Instagram, the company reported during its Q1 2022 earnings call. But just 3.9% of Instagram ad impressions for Tinuiti advertisers during the second quarter came from Reels.

Reels CPM was 59% lower than Instagram Feed for the median advertiser during the second quarter.

Advertising costs across other social platforms remained lower than Facebook or Instagram during the second quarter for the median Tinuiti advertiser — 58% lower on Snapchat, 53% lower on Pinterest and 25% lower on TikTok.

What does this mean for marketers?

In May, Facebook sunsetted its podcast service, suggesting creators focus instead on short-form video via Instagram Reels, while this week, the company announced it’s shifting resources from its news services and reallocating teams to “heighten their focus on building a more robust Creator economy,” Facebook’s Campbell Brown told employees in a memo reported by The Wall Street Journal

As the company has reprioritized around Reels and creators, users seem to be following suit and the short-form video format is one that marketers should be investing in, Andy Taylor, vice president, research at Tinuiti, told SmartBrief. 

“It’s clear that Reels will be a huge part of how marketers reach Instagram users moving forward, even if they account for only a small share of ad impressions right now. Stories ads were also once only a small part of Instagram budgets, but the format accounted for 39% of all ad impressions on Instagram in Q2 2022. As such, brands should look to invest in the format and learn as much as they can as ad traffic ramps up,” Taylor said. 

Marketers can maximize the reach of their TikTok content by also placing it on Reels, Taylor advises. 

“There are also still many Instagram users who are not active on TikTok, and Reels provides a way to reach these individuals with the same content that brands would use on TikTok,” Taylor said, adding, “The Reels campaigns that have been the most successful thus far are those that used creative that mirrors the aesthetic of TikTok’s UGC videos.”