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Online advertising leaps ahead in 2020

Figures are starting to come out of the USA (which will almost certainly be reflected here) showing that online advertising has received a considerable boost during the unprecedented events of 2020. Consumers have been spending 10% more time with online content compared to a year ago, and that in turn was over 10% up on the year before. Video content in particular has seen a big rise since March.

Understandably, this has been reflected in advertising. While total ad spending is down 8% on a year ago, so-called ‘digital’ advertising is up 6% and ‘traditional’ advertising down a huge 30%. While ‘out of home’ advertising has taken a big hit, the sectors seeing the biggest growth are social media advertising (+25%) and paid search advertising (+26%). The latter is seeing a small shift away from Google, but this could be largely accounted for by Google being heavily hit by the collapse in the travel industry. We haven’t noticed any drop in the competition or rates in the industrial sector yet.

The outlook for next year among advertisers is pretty buoyant, although this has to be weighed against the potential impact of the recession we’re entering, with the double hit of the pandemic and leaving the European Union. The impact of those is likely to be more significant than strategy trends.