At the beginning of the pandemic, nearly half of advertisers pumped the brakes on or pulled a campaign mid-flight. During that same time, about half also reported plans to not reduce ad spending but instead shift budget among media types. These findings emerged from Advertiser Perceptions’ wave one coronavirus survey, fielded from March 17 to March 20.

In early May, media buyers expressed optimism about Q3, with just one in three respondents expecting ad spend to be affected in Q3. 

However, Advertiser Perceptions’ wave-five survey, fielded from May 18 to 21, suggests that ad spend won’t rebound this year. In fact, 43 percent of media buyers expect there to still be a “major impact” on ad spending in Q3, eMarketer reports. The sentiment is in line with responses to Advertisers Perceptions’ wave two and three surveys, fielded in March and April.

By the time Advertiser Perceptions conducted its fifth survey, just 13 percent of US media buyers confirmed ad spending had already begun to ramp up. An additional three percent expected the same to occur by the end of the month.

On the other hand, 79 percent of respondents said they anticipated ad spending to start picking up by the end of Q3, 51 percent of which expected it to happen during Q3.

Advertiser Perceptions also found that most media buyers expected moderate or major impacts to continue through the end of 2020, while one-third expected at least moderate ramifications to continue into 2021.

Now, 43 percent of respondents expect a major impact on ad spend to push into Q3, up from 31 percent in wave four, which was fielded from May 1 to 5.

eMarketer advises the digital ad industry should prepare for a slow return to a new normal. Digital ad investments will plunge in Q2 and year-over-year spending increases won’t return to pre-pandemic figures until at least 2021, the researcher notes.