Nearly Half Of Brands Will Increase Facebook Ad Spend Next Year

More than half of businesses (60 percent) plan to increase their Instagram budget next year, and almost half are planning to do the same for Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, according to Hootsuite’s 2021 social media trends report.

In July, hundreds of brands halted Facebook ad spend in a show of solidarity against the platform’s inaction toward hate speech and misinformation. Socialbakers’ research shows the boycott led to a 32 percent decrease in spend in North America in the first week of July. But it appears the hiatus was short-lived as Hootsuite found that 46 percent of marketers are going to ramp up Facebook spending next year.

Marketers have plans to increase investment in YouTube (45 percent) and LinkedIn (44 percent) too. Despite TikTok’s surge this year, just 14 percent of respondents said they’ll increase spend on the platform next year, indicating familiar favorites will remain a go-to over nascent tactics.

As the pandemic accelerates the shift to ecommerce, marketers’ top outcome for social media in 2021 is to increase the acquisition of new customers—this is true for 73 percent of respondents compared to 46 percent last year. Many are also seeking to increase brand awareness (64 percent) and drive conversions (45 percent).

Only 23 percent of respondents are concerned with improving the customer experience through social media. But it’s important to note that in the absence of in-person experiences and events, brands must recreate the online customer experience with social media at the center, be it through live-streaming events or social commerce.

After being forced to close its stores amid the pandemic, Clarins tapped a beauty expert to share curated videos via the brand’s Instagram Stories. Story completion rates surged from a previous average of 20 percent to 75 percent.

“If you don’t have the impulse moments at the checkout anymore, where people grab something spontaneously off the shelf, recommendations from trusted creators can become that source of inspiration,” said Jim Habig, global head of business marketing at Pinterest.

Hootsuite anticipates the addition of short-form video to product detail pages (PDPs) will also be key, as 42 percent of Taobao’s PDPs already include such videos.

Another trend Hootsuite anticipates will emerge next year is an increased awareness around how much people actually want to interact with brands on social media. In 2021, the smartest brands will understand where they fit into their audience’s lives on social, then find creative ways to be part of the conversation, rather than try to lead it.

To implement this trend, marketers should bolster social listening data in addition to search analysis and utilize user-generated content (UGC) more heavily to inspire trust in consumers.

With new forms of digital literacy growing among baby boomers, brands can’t afford to overlook older generations on social media as Hootsuite’s 2020 data revealed that 70 percent of internet users aged 55-64 have bought something online in the past month, and 37 percent plan to continue doing so more frequently when the pandemic is over.

Instead of stereotypically targeting baby boomers by age alone, brands should target them by passions or hobbies through a platform like Pinterest, which serves as an outlet for passion projects and has the greatest penetration among boomers of any non-Facebook social network.

With the collapse of traditional strategies comes a newfound appreciation for social media among executives. But 54 percent have said they aren’t confident that their social media followers are more valuable customers than those they don’t engage with.

A lack of data integration is one reason brands fail to quantify social media’s return on investment (ROI), as only 10 percent of marketers feel they have mature practices around implementing social data into enterprise systems. 

Those who have integrated data are reaping the benefits, as 85 percent who have done so reported being confident in their company’s ability to accurately quantify the ROI of social media.

Brands should tie vanity metrics such as impressions and reach back to their web traffic sessions and bounce rate to understand if their social media efforts are resonating with their audience. Doing so starts with setting up manual workflows to enable collection of quantifiable data from engagements with organic and paid campaigns.

Successful brands will remember that creating an authentic reputation starts in the boardroom, not on social media, as statements there alone can’t make up for a lack of true brand purpose across a company. 

More than half (55 perfect) of respondents say it’s important that a business operates according to its values/principles, followed by proactively making the world a better place (53 percent).

The findings are based on a survey Hootsuite conducted among 11,189 marketers in Q3.

Mobile Ad Spend Will Reach $290 Billion in 2021

As media consumption continues to surge, App Annie’s latest report reveals five key mobile trends marketers need to know as mobile continues to function as a portal to the outside world.

First up, TikTok’s user base is set to soar. App Annie expects the app will reach 1.2 billion average monthly active users (MAUs) next year. Hitting that milestone will position TikTok alongside competitors who have already exceeded the 1 billion MAUs mark, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and YouTube.

TikTok’s projected surge will come on the heels of its strong Q3 performance, when it ranked the number two non-gaming app by consumer spend.

Next, App Annie anticipates time spent in key “at-home” mobile categories will exceed 1.3 trillion hours on Android phones alone in 2021. Business and education apps will see a four-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57 percent and 62 percent, respectively, as people continue to work and learn remotely.

At a 43 percent CAGR, global time spent streaming on mobile will also surge, topping 1 trillion hours on Android phones alone next year.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, consumers turned to mobile to use finance apps, in which time spent globally will surpass 31 billion hours annually on Android phones in 2021—representing a four-year CAGR of 35 percent.

US consumers will set a new record for mobile shopping at 1 billion hours spent on Android devices in the holiday shopping season, taking time spent in shopping apps in 2021 to a four-year CAGR of 40 percent.

Consumers are feverishly spending on mobile games. According to App Annie, average weekly downloads of games worldwide were up 15 percent year-over-year in Q3. With increased demand for casual and core gaming, consumer spend on mobile games will surpass $120 billion in 2021.

App Annie says 2021 will be the year of the hybrid mobile game genres, a result of mobile phones delivering more sophisticated experiences previously only available on console or PC and hyper casual games adopting midcore elements. During the first half of the year, hyper casual games saw 5 billion downloads worldwide.

This hybridization will also occur in multiplayer games, which are becoming more casual and will continue to be in high demand as consumers seek to stay connected with friends and family.

In Q3, overall time spent in apps globally was up 25 percent YoY. During the first half of 2020, App Annie observed a 70 percent increase in mobile ad placements despite reduced budgets. It’s due to this resiliency that App Annie predicts mobile ad spend will jump to $290 billion, a two-year CAGR of 21 percent.

Consumers in the US will have an average of 9.5 video streaming apps downloaded on their phones in 2021—up 85 percent from 2019. As competition in the space intensifies, App Annie advises companies capitalize on features that cater to today’s socially distant consumers, such as those that encourage socializing, connection and shared experiences.

How Consumers And Marketers Plan To Spend In Q4 And Beyond

Both marketers and consumers plan on increasing their spend in Q4 and into the new year, according to a new report from OpenX and The Harris Poll, “The New Normal: Marketing in 2020 & Beyond.” The survey was fielded from July 20-29 among 1,000 adults aged 18 and over—16 percent of which lost their job or saw reduced hours due to COVID-19, as well as 502 marketers—mostly business-to-consumer marketers and some business-to-business marketers.

The research shows that 40 percent of consumers have increased their time spent on desktop sites, mobile sites, social media apps and connected television (CTV). To capitalize on this shift, 54 percent of marketers said they changed their strategy to reach consumers who are streaming more.

More time spent in digital channels resulted in 44 percent of consumers increasing their online purchases during COVID-19, with 37 percent saying mobile shopping has increased. Of the marketers who offer direct-to-consumer, 76 percent have updated their strategy to facilitate more online shopping. Even among marketers who reported a slump in total sales for the year, 29 percent said their online sales are up.

Despite more online shopping, 54 percent of consumers said they’re spending less money in 2020. For 61 percent of marketers, this new behavior meant cutting their budgets by at least 10 percent, and in some cases, by more than 25 percent. But as of July, 46 percent of marketers plan to add money back into their Q4 budget and 70 percent expect their 2021 budgets to be larger than their post-pandemic budgets.

The decline in consumer spending has enabled 28 percent of consumers to save money during the pandemic, with most savings acquired from not going out to restaurants. As a result, more than 50 percent of shoppers expect to increase discretionary spending this holiday season or in 2021.

Indoor dining may have ground to a near halt, but consumers are still spending money on food delivery. In fact, 58 percent of respondents who have used a delivery service like Uber Eats or Postmates said they’ve used the services more during the pandemic.

Consumers will spend some of their savings during the holiday season and in the new year, as 40 percent expect to spend the same amount compared to recent years and 51 percent plan to make a big-ticket purchase of over $500 in 2020. Looking ahead, 36 percent of consumers said they already plan to spend more in 2021 than they did this year.

The report also touches on consumer sentiment toward COVID-adjacent ads and how marketers responded to the social justice and health crises. A majority of consumers (80 percent) said they wouldn’t view a brand negatively for being associated with COVID-19 yet 40 percent of marketers reported taking proactive measures to ensure their brand wouldn’t be next to pandemic-related content.

A little over half of consumers (57 percent) are more likely to buy/use a product if a brand takes a position on a social issue similar to the consumers’ views. That figure was 77 percent for Gen Z and millennial respondents.

Of marketers that took some action around the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests, 52 percent said it had a positive impact.

If a second wave of COVID-19 comes, 80 percent of marketers feel they’re ready, though 71 percent said their strategy would differ from the first wave. In addition, 37 percent said they wouldn’t cut as much of their budget, or at all. 

Lastly, most marketers said that some of the strategy changes they made during COVID-19 will continue and will focus more heavily on digital channels.

Benchmark Study Shows 90 Percent Reduction Of Ad Fraud In TAG Certified Channels

The pandemic has dramatically accelerated digital business initiatives, making the digital supply chain more susceptible to fraud, but new research shows some of that fraud is effectively being blocked. 

According to the latest US fraud benchmark study from The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and The 614 Group, the invalid traffic (IVT) rate across TAG Certified channels was just 1.05 percent this year—a 90 percent improvement over the average industry rate of 10.83 percent.

To calculate the findings, The 614 Group teamed with six agency holding companies and their MRC-accredited measurement vendors to gather all impressions for campaigns that ran between January and August 2020, including desktop, mobile web, mobile in-app and connected television (CTV).

The IVT rate found in TAG’s analysis reflects a combination of both sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) and general invalid traffic (GIVT) to achieve a “blended rate.”

Upon examining 353 billion impressions that traveled through TAG Certified Channels, TAG measured an overall IVT rate of 1.05 percent, down from 1.48 percent in 2017.

Based on TAG’s calculation of multiplying the average cost per thousand (CPM) for each inventory type, advertisers spent nearly $1.6 billion on inventory that flowed through TAG Certified Channels.

For the first time, the study includes fraud analysis across CTV, where IVT is harder to combat than it is in the desktop and mobile ecosystems due to lack of measurement standards and server-side insertion. In CTV, TAG Certified Channels have just a 0.6 percent, according to the report.

To date, 148 companies worldwide have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal, which means multiple entities involved in the transaction—including media agency, buy-side platform, sell-side platform and/or publisher—have achieved the TAG Seal.

This year digital ad fraud will hit $35 billion, overtaking credit card fraud at $27 billion, according to new data from Cheq.

Total Media Ad Spend Will Rebound To Pre-Pandemic Levels In 2021

Total media ad spend worldwide will decrease by 4.5 percent this year to reach $614 billion, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.

Though the figure has slightly increased from the researcher’s 2020 projection of -4.9 percent, it’s a sharp decline compared to its pre-pandemic estimate of seven percent.

With the exception of China, the 37 ad markets that eMarketer tracks will report negative growth in total media ad spend this year. China will post a growth of 0.3 percent.

Emarketer says it revised growth downward for 27 markets this year because their Q2 performance was worse than expected and countries like France, Spain and the UK went into a second lockdown. Spain will be hit the hardest, at -14 percent growth.

In the US, ecommerce advertising compensated for losses seen in travel-related search advertising, which resulted in better-than-expected performance in Q2. Therefore, eMarketer expects total media ad spend in the US will decrease by 4.1 percent this year, up from its June forecast of -6.8 percent.

The US will rank eighth this year among the markets covered by eMarketer, up from 24th place in its previous forecast. In terms of digital ad spending, the US will place second with 7.5 percent growth, up from eMarketer’s previous projection of 19th place with 1.7 percent growth.

Emarketer expects total media ad spend worldwide will rebound to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 to reach $691 billion. Helping drive the rebound will be a boost in digital ad spend globally, at 16.4 percent in 2021—more than double the 7.9 percent growth that traditional media spend will see next year.

Merkle: Spending On Facebook Ads Rebounded In Q3

As advertisers ready for the holiday season, Merkle’s latest digital marketing report offers some insight on how paid and organic search, paid social and display ad spend in Q3 fared in the pandemic.

The data show that Google search ad spending rose 11 recent year-over-year (YoY) in Q3, up from nine percent in Q2. Travel advertisers cut Google search spending 40 percent YoY in Q3, up from a 47 percent decline a quarter earlier. Retail search spending growth increased slightly from 11 percent YoY in Q2 to about 12 percent in Q3. For financial service companies, Google search spending dropped five percent.

Average cost per click (CPC) declines improved slightly from a 22 percent decrease in Q2 to a 10 percent decline in Q3. And as consumers started leaving their house again, Google click growth slowed from 39 percent YoY in Q2 to 24 percent in Q3.

Spending on Google Shopping ads saw a five percent increase in Q3 compared with Q2, while Google text ad spending increased nine percent compared to 10 percent in Q2.

Overall spending in retail and ecommerce categories led platform growth in Q3 YoY, with retailer sales from Google search ads up 44 percent YoY in Q3, down from an 87 percent increase in Q2.

As far as organic search, retailers and consumer goods brands saw the largest growth rates, with visits up 42 percent YoY in both Q2 and Q3. Travel organic search visits dropped 37 percent YoY in Q3, an improvement from a 50 percent decline in Q2.

Visits for non-essential goods brands were up 54 percent in Q3 while apparel brands saw an 11 percent decrease in organic search visits.

Google organic search visits on mobile increased 33 percent in Q3, down from 35 percent growth in Q2. Together, phones and tablets accounted for 64 percent of Google  organic search visits to brand sites.

Across all platforms, Merkle’s research reveals that paid social ad spend was up 19 percent YoY in Q3, up from 11 percent growth in Q2. Meanwhile, spending on traditional display ad platforms dipped three percent YoY, albeit it was an improvement from an 11 percent decrease in Q2.

Spending on Instagram ads was up 34 percent YoY, a four percent increase from Q2. Similarly, spending on Facebook ads grew 12 percent YoY in Q3, up from four percent growth in Q2.

Pinterest and Snapchat accounted for 17 percent of total social budgets among advertisers whereas Twitter accounted for 11 percent. For LinkedIn, the rate was six percent.

Click and sales growth for Amazon Sponsored Products ad slowed in Q3, but continued to outperform major digital ad products. Ad spending on Amazon Sponsored Brands was up 74 percent YoY in Q3, up from 58 percent growth in Q2. In addition, the format’s average CPC rose 16 percent YoY in Q3 after dropping 19 percent in Q2.

Study Shows Consumers Notice OOH Ads More Amid Shift Toward Hyperlocal Travel

Nearly half (45 percent) of American adults say they’re noticing out-of-home (OOH) advertising more than before the pandemic began, according to the results of a survey the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and The Harris Poll fielded from September 21-23 among 2,058 US adults aged 18 and up.

The finding comes as consumers have a newfound appreciation for the outdoors, spurred by shelter-in-place orders. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they try to get out of the house as often as they can, even if it’s just a drive or walk around town. Forty-eight percent are also on the hunt for new places to work from home or spend time al fresco, including outdoor parks, outdoor coffee shops or a friend’s patio.

This new shift in behavior has given OOH ads greater visibility, In fact, 45 percent of respondents said they’re noticing billboards, outdoor video screens, posters, signage and other OOH ads more now than before the pandemic.

Among the most helpful OOH ads to consumers are those that include information on COVID-19 safety and hygiene (38 percent), special offers and promotions (23 percent) and updates on a brand’s business hours and services (20 percent).

When asked what their reaction is to these types of OOH ads, 29 percent said they’re grateful for the useful information, 23 percent said it informed them about something new and 20 percent said it comforted them as it’s a sign that business is resuming as usual.

When thinking about products to buy for themselves and others, 56 percent said billboards were useful, followed by 50 percent for subway or public transit station posters and 49 percent for ads on bus shelters or benches. However, 53 percent said ads on the sides of busses or taxi cabs are not helpful.

Consumers’ renewed tendencies to spend time outside is a detriment to digital marketers as 68 percent said they spend so much time looking at screens these days that they often tune out digital online ads.

Though 65 percent of respondents said they’re interested in taking a road trip due to the pandemic, many are reluctant to use certain modes of transportation. For example, 42 percent are using airplanes less and 34 percent said they won’t board a flight until after the pandemic. Similarly, 37 percent said they’re using taxi or ride-sharing services less and 27 percent won’t use these services until the pandemic is over.

In the next few months, 45 percent of respondents said their travel patterns will be decreasing in number of trips and distance in comparison to pre-pandemic; 27 percent believe their travel patterns will be similar to what they were; and 19 percent said their travel patterns will be similar to what they were before the pandemic but more focused on trips closer to home.

COVID-19 has affected 80 percent of consumers’ holiday plans, with 45 percent reporting that they plan to stay home and celebrate with their immediate family only and 27 percent saying they’ll limit the number of people at gatherings to 10 people or less.

Just three percent are willing to travel internationally during the holidays and four percent are willing to travel domestically over 1,000 miles. A majority of respondents will travel anywhere from 50 to 200 miles during the holidays. Twenty-nine percent said they don’t plan to travel to any holiday destination this November or December. For those who do have travel holiday plans, 56 percent will use their personal vehicle and 16 percent will fly.

As far as holiday shopping, 68 percent plan to spend more or the same amount on holiday meals and wine, liquor or beer. But 58 percent prefer shopping online from September through January, followed by 42 percent who want to shop in person.

Still, 43 percent said they try to make fewer trips to the store and stock up on as many items as they can to minimize their in-store shopping, while 34 percent said they’ve stopped casually shopping in-person and only go in for pre-determined items.

The pandemic has also disrupted brand loyalty as 43 percent said they use a mix of new brands and brands they’re familiar with since the pandemic. Thirty-two percent haven’t tried new brands.

Lastly, 65 percent of consumers wish there were more outdoor dining offerings as 47 percent are tired of cooking meals at home.

App Annie: Consumers Spent $28 Billion In Apps During Q3

Mobile is having its best year thanks to the pandemic. According to App Annie’s latest report, in Q3 consumers downloaded 33 billion new apps globally and spent a record $28 billion in apps — up 20 percent year-over-year.

As markets ease stay-at-home restrictions, mobile usage remains high worldwide. Monthly time spent in mobile apps increased 25 percent YoY in Q3, in excess of 180 billion hours each month of July, August and September 2020, as per App Annie.

Of the 33 billion new apps consumers downloaded in Q3, 25 billion were from Google Play, which saw a 10 percent YoY, and 9 billion were from iOS, representing a 20 percent YoY.

By consumer spend, Tinder ranked number one, followed by TikTok, YouTube, Disney+, Tencent Video, Google One, BIGO LIVE, Netflix, Piccoma and iQIYI.

As for downloads, TikTok ranked first, followed by Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Meet, Instagram, Messenger, Snack Video, Telegram and Snapchat.

On Google Play, non-gaming apps accounted for 55 percent of all downloads. India and Brazil were the two largest markets by downloads for Google Play.

The categories with the most amount of downloads on Google Play were games, tools and entertainment. App Annie also observed strong quarter-over-quarter growth of downloads for libraries & demo (310 percent), dating (100 percent) and events (45 percent) apps, perhaps a sign that consumers are resuming in-person interactions.

On iOS, non-gaming apps accounted for 70 percent of all downloads. The US—where consumer spend on sports apps increased by 55 percent from Q2—and China were the two largest markets by downloads for iOS.

Games, photos and video and entertainment were the largest categories by downloads on iOS for five straight quarters. The travel category was the largest driver of overall growth on iOS.

Similarly, travel (50 percent), navigation (25 percent) and weather (15 percent) apps on iOS all had strong QoQ growth.

App Annie says that in France, Germany, the UK and the US, there was a strong rebound of time spent in Airbnb, Google Maps,, park4night,, and Speedbot.

Consumers spent a record $28 billion in apps in Q3. On Google Play spend grew 35 percent YoY to over $10 billion, while on iOS spend grew 20 percent YoY to $18 billion.

The US, Japan and South Korea were the three largest markets driving consumer spend on Google Play. For iOS it was the US and Japan.

Google Play consumers spent the most on games, social and entertainment apps, fueled in part by Disney+, Twitch, Globo Play and HBO Max.

iOS users spent the most on games, entertainment and photo and video apps.

A major breakout app was Snack Video, which launched on iOS on July 30 and broke into the top 10 apps by worldwide downloads, driven by installs in India.

Emarketer: US Travel Industry Digital Ad Spend To Plummet By 41 Percent

The pandemic has devastated the travel industry at large and according to eMarketer, the effects will linger in Q3. According to the researcher’s updated forecast, travel industry digital ad spending in the US will plummet by 41 percent year-over-year to just $3.24 billion this year. That’s in comparison to eMarketer’s previous estimate that travel digital ad spending would grow 19.3 percent.

Travel will now account for just 2.4 percent of digital ad spending in the US.

EMarketer anticipates travel digital ad spending in the US will rebound to a 15.3 percent growth rate to $3.74 billion in 2021—a figure that barely exceeds the industry’s expenditure of $3.64 billion in 2017.

Until a vaccine is introduced and cross-border travel restrictions are lifted, consumers may be reluctant to travel the way they did before the crisis. This behavior will only worsen the situation for the travel industry.

The future is rosier for US digital ad spending as a whole. Emarketer estimates that total nationwide digital ad spending across all industries will recover from a sluggish 1.7 percent growth rate this year to 21.1 percent next year. Before the pandemic hit, eMarketer forecasted 17 percent growth in US digital ad spending.

Research shows consumers are eager to travel again. According to Skyscanner’s “The New World of Travel” report, US consumer searches for international travel were down by just six percent from the monthly average seen in 2019. The number of domestic travel searches made in August was six percent higher than the 2019 monthly average.

In addition, the report revealed 44 percent of US travelers believe it’s safe to travel domestically, as evidenced by the nearly one million passengers the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened during Labor Day weekend.

Consumer travel behavior has in fact started to pick up for some regions. For example, the number of national and international flights to Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit more than doubled in October from September, according to TravelPulse.

Confidence in cruising has also increased. According to MMGY Global’s Travel Safety Barometer, the cruise travel safety barometer rose seven points, from 24 in September to 31 in October. That progress comes as the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced it would require pre-boarding COVID-19 tests for all passengers and crew members on ships carrying over 250 people.

WARC: Ecommerce Sales Set To Reach $2.9 Trillion This Year

With out-of-home activities on the back burner until further notice, consumers are increasingly turning to contactless services and online shopping. As a result, ecommerce is on track to have a huge year. According to WARC’s latest global ad trends report, the pandemic will lead to an additional $183 billion in online spending in 2020, while overall ecommerce sales are projected to grow by 30.4 percent to $2.9 trillion.

Brands are prepared to spend big to reach online shoppers. WARC’s data show companies will invest $59 billion in ecommerce advertising this year, driven by an increased use of lower-funnel tactics.

Ecommerce ad spend shows no signs of slowing down. Advertising across ecommerce sites, omnichannel retailers and social commerce is growing 30 times faster than the wider online ad market, the report found.

That upward momentum is likely to continue, as research from McKinsey & Company shows 21 percent of Americans have tried a new digital shopping method since the pandemic and 80 percent intend to continue the usage beyond the crisis. In addition, many have found new places to shop via a digital channel, including an online ad (23 percent) and social media post (16 percent).

The report also provides insight into how Alibaba and Amazon’s ad businesses, respectively, are performing in the age of coronavirus. Growing 4.5 times faster than Facebook’s and 63 times faster than Alphabet’s, Amazon’s ad business is expected to be worth $18.1 billion this year, up 35.6 percent from last year.

Alibaba’s ad business, the third largest in the world, is set to make $23.5 billion from selling ad inventory across its ecommerce properties this year, a 6.6 percent increase from 2019.

Lastly, WARC found that livestreams are bolstering China’s ecommerce sales and growing to account for a fifth of the country’s ecommerce. Taobao, TikTok and Kwai—the largest three livestreaming platforms there—accounted for 69.1 percent of livestreamed sales this year.