AdExchanger Research: The Pandemic Has Changed How Advertisers Think About Data And Tech Investments

AdExchanger Research

AdExchanger’s newest research report, 2020 Industry Outlook: How COVID-19 Reset Digital Marketing, details how exactly the pandemic has impacted technology and data investments among the marketer and agency community.

Here’s a snippet:

The sky didn’t fall and the ground didn’t crumble — but nearly all segments of the global economy experienced a significant jolt from the global COVID-19 health crisis. For digital marketers, the disruption was considerable and the reaction was swift, especially during the first phase of the pandemic in March and April 2020.

As a direct result of the outbreak, we found that 66% of brands reduced their short-term media spend. But there’s reason to be hopeful as the year progresses. The majority of the digital marketing industry is optimistic about future growth, which most expect will restart by the second half of 2020. Ad budgets are rising due to that optimism. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of digital marketers expect to either increase their ad investments or keep them level in the second half of 2020 compared to the tumultuous first half of the year.

And there’s another silver lining: Programmatic spend has been largely insulated from pandemic-related cuts. The majority of digital marketers (56%) either kept their programmatic spend levels stable during the pandemic or didn’t cut the channel any more or less than other marketing investments. And check this: Seventeen percent of digital marketers actually increased their programmatic budgets during the pandemic.

Taking a step back, one of the dominant themes to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic has been an acceleration of trends that were already underway before the outbreak. In that vein and as the situation begins to normalize, many marketers plan to accelerate their own road maps. More than half (52%) are stepping up their supply partner reevaluation process. Measurement has also become an even higher priority as brands seek quick feedback on how campaigns are performing.

But as much as COVID-19 has dominated the conversation since March, there are other major changes on the horizon, including the end of the third-party cookie and consumer data and privacy regulations. In fact, marketers anticipate that these two issues will wallop the industry more than any changes that result from the pandemic.

Insight #1 — Forty-Six Percent of Digital Marketers Will Maintain or Increase Investment in Marketing Technology and Data in Response to Crisis

Close to half of digital marketers are maintaining or increasing their investments in marketing technology and data. Less than a third will reduce or suspend these investments. (Seventeen percent say they will invest less and another 14% have paused new investment.) Meanwhile 23% are unsure how the outbreak and aftermath will impact their technology and data investments.

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