By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Instagram continues its surge in generating advertiser interest while Facebook remains the dominant social platform. This is according to a first quarter survey of advertising agencies conducted by Strata.

The survey also found a continued multi-quarter decline in YouTube’s lead over Instagram, bringing the two within one point of each other in advertiser interest. 54% of agencies report plans to use YouTube against 53% for Instagram. Facebook remains entrenched in first place as 95% of agencies are interested in the platform. Twitter, which historically held third place in agency interest until the second quarter of 2016, continues its slide with interest from 37% of agencies, finding itself just 10% above fifth-placed LinkedIn.

The interest in these social platforms is reflected in agency spending, as well. 93% percent of agencies are currently spending money on Facebook, with 53% planning to spend on YouTube, and 49% planning on Instagram. The current spend lagging behind agency interest could indicate increased spend in the coming quarters.

More than half of agencies now plan to spend more than 5% of their overall advertising budgets on social media, with 22% allocating between 11-25% of their budgets on social, compared to 18% in 4Q16. The increase in budget for paid social coincides with the proliferation of live streaming tools, such as Facebook Live and Snapchat Live as 42% of agencies report that clients were interested in these innovations for their campaigns.

“Though Facebook has remained the dominant player in the social media space, the gradual shifts in focus to other platforms has been interesting to watch. There’s always been a premium on live, so it’s not surprising that agencies have an interest in exploring Facebook Live, Snapchat’s Spectacles, and Instagram’s Stories,”¬†said Judd Rubin, senior vice president at Strata.

When agencies were asked which form of media they prioritised the most, 24% reported that digital video was their primary focus. Although that leaves digital video in second, behind local TV and cable at 36%, the interest in digital video has seen a 351% increase over the past year.

The rise in interest in digital video may be surprising in light of the fact that agencies appear split on the effectiveness of digital video. Twenty-five percent feel that it can be as effective as traditional TV, but 33% feel it isn’t, and 42% are unsure. When asked more broadly about perceived ROI from digital video, over 50% felt fairly confident that they were getting good value for their money. Forty-one percent noted they were unsure, and only 9% of agencies felt they were not getting a strong ROI.