Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram show more ads on average to users than the major social media platforms. Facebook newsfeeds are made up of an average of 21.2% ads, while Instagram trails closely behind with an average of 20.6%. LinkedIn (19.6% ), Twitter (14.2%), and TikTok (2.4%) are the next biggest offenders when it comes to the percentage of ads in their feeds.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all tied for peak ad saturation—the absolute highest percentage of ads shown to users—with some feeds in our analysis consisting of as much as 42% paid posts, or more than four ads for every 10 posts. The image above shows what feeds look like at just 20% ad saturation.
Why Some Users Are Seeing More Ads than Others
Surprisingly, interacting with ads does not affect the rate of ads shown on any of the social media feeds. Reporting ads may have the opposite effect of what users desire—respondents who report ads see about 5% more ads than those who do not report.
In the case of Instagram, the platform tends to show ads at a higher rate to users who spend more time on their platform. Instagram could be banking on the fact that these users love their platform enough to tolerate a few more ads in their feeds.
Time Spent on Social Media
On average, users spend the most time on Instagram (52 minutes) and see the second-highest number of ads. TikTok users spend about 44 minutes on the app, and see the smallest number of ads in their feeds.
TikTok users are getting the most out of their experience, spending a relatively high amount of time watching clips, while having to see far fewer ads than they would on other popular social media platforms. Incidentally, TikTok is by far the youngest of these platforms, having launched in China in 2016 and entering the US market in August 2018.
We gathered this data from analyzing over 8,750 social media posts on 175 different personal and professional (business, art, influencer, etc.) feeds. We asked these social media users about their habits, including how they interact with paid posts, and how much time they spend on each social media platform.