Paid social has taken the lead as the most popular form of digital advertising, with nine out of 10 advertisers investing in the channel in 2018.

According to Marin Software’s global State of Digital Advertising report which surveyed 500 B2C performance marketers across the retail, automotive, travel and finance sectors, 30% of respondents allocate more budget to paid social than any other paid media channel – with search coming in second in investment (26%).

Mobile is also proving to be an effective channel for brands adopting a mobile-first approach to digital advertising – the vast majority of mobile display spend is being directed towards advertising on social media, which rose 44.7% year-on-year.

This, coupled with rising spend on paid search, is driving sector growth, as early estimates for the full year 2017 put total mobile ad spend above £5 billion.

“This year’s report suggests that we’ll see a broad increase in investment across all digital channels as marketers continue to adopt the full spectrum of opportunities to engage consumers,” said Irisini Davis, director of marketing EMEA at Marin Software.

Meanwhile, the increasing dominance of Google, Facebook and Amazon will impact most businesses above all other challenges this year.

When asked how they viewed Amazon and its digital advertising options, 85% of advertisers felt the e-commerce giant would impact their business in 2018 as Amazon received $2 billion in ad revenue last year.

However, within the customer journey process, Amazon’s place is much further down the line compared to Google or Facebook with searches being made with a high intent to buy – as 60% of respondents view Amazon and its digital advertising options as a growth opportunity or a “necessary evil”, while 17% view the e-commerce retailer and its digital advertising options as a competitor.

“Integrating the biggest of these channels is clearly a huge challenge possibly due to Google, Facebook and now Amazon’s, ever-increasing power to limit access to the insights and knowledge marketers need to make their advertising work effectively across channels;” said Davis; Marketers need the capability to securely integrate first party information across channels with a view into how those channels influence one another and access to innovative technologies which amplify performance of publisher tools.”