Media Buying

Early in the pandemic, digital audio took a huge hit in user engagement and in the amount of time listeners were spending with the medium. Many observers, including us, predicted dire results in the short term. However, the rest of the year played out very differently than those early weeks, and we ultimately revised our 2020 estimate from a 1.0% decline in the time US adults spent with digital audio to 8.3% growth, for a total of 1 hour, 29 minutes (1:29) per day.

Early in 2020, as the pandemic was getting underway, Americans flocked to their TV sets at a rate unseen in years. Initially, US households were glued to the news, as uncertainty over the coronavirus drove viewership. In the following weeks, the TVs mostly stayed on, as the initial wave of lockdowns kept Americans stuck on the couch with lots of new time to kill.

Fox ended 2020 strong: The company credited increased political advertising and successful AVOD product for its end-of-year results.

The not-so super Super Bowl ratings: The game reported about a 5.5% drop in total viewership, but it still draws one of the largest audiences on traditional TV.

eMarketer forecasting analyst Eric Haggstrom and principal analyst at Insider Intelligence Andrew Lipsman discuss Amazon's retail and ad businesses as well as Jeff Bezos stepping down as CEO. They then talk about Walmart's new partnership with The Trade Desk, whether vaccinated shoppers will want to return to stores, and what click and collect's future looks like.

eMarketer associate analyst at Insider Intelligence Blake Droesch discusses Facebook's latest earnings, new advertiser exclusion controls, and privacy battle with Apple. He then talks about a study analyzing last summer's Facebook ad boycott, what to make of the Oversight Board's first few rulings, and the key to success on Instagram.

Pinterest’s commerce efforts pay off: The discovery platform reported strong growth in both user numbers and ad revenues for Q4, driven by its shopping ad offerings.

The New York Times gets closer to its digital transformation goals: The company reported a big increase in digital-only subscriptions, an outlook indicating it’ll keep betting on that ringer.

Amazon and Google earnings show that ad budgets have recovered: The companies continued to see strong ad revenue growth in Q4, both boosted by ecommerce performance.

The (sports) bets are in: Sport gambling companies have increased their ad spend 82% YoY since mid-June and will likely continue to increase their marketing efforts as legalization continues.

eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence Nicole Perrin discusses whether major marketers will pull spending on social platforms because of brand safety and ethical concerns, what to make of Facebook's new advertiser “topic exclusion controls” test, and the types of content consumers prefer brands avoid the most. She then talks about tech companies introducing rules that favor their own business models, Facebook's relationship with political content, and whether Google is waving goodbye to Australia.

eMarketer junior forecasting analyst Zach Goldner and senior forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Oscar Orozco discuss how US media use will change in 2021: Are fewer Americans watching TV, which digital devices are being used more, and how much time is spent with TikTok and Disney+? They then talk about how much people are willing to pay for TV streaming, virtually co-viewing digital content, and whether video games have replaced music as the most important aspect of youth culture.

Walmart is building its own demand-side ad platform: This lets advertisers buy off-site ads using Walmart’s wealth of consumer shopping data, which could help the retail giant gain share in the online ad war against Amazon.

The pandemic barely affected Facebook’s bottom line: The company reported substantial Q4 ad revenue increases, though it also provided guidance that Apple’s upcoming mobile changes will impact Facebook’s business starting in Q1 2021.

UK programmatic digital display ad spending increased in 2020, despite the incredibly challenging conditions. The shift to programmatic trading will further accelerate this year, but certain methods are performing better than others.

The coronavirus pandemic dampened growth in US mobile ad spending. This year, we expect US mobile ad spending will rise by 22.2% to $117.35 billion, which falls below our pre-pandemic estimate ($123.59 billion).

Out-of-home ad spending was the hardest-hit ad sector during 2020, according to our estimates. Lingering concerns about crowded public spaces will potentially drag on the sector for years.

Amid the pandemic, US adults spent 1 hour more per day on digital activities (across all devices) than they did in 2019, according to eMarketer’s latest time spent forecast from Insider Intelligence. Total digital time is now on track to surpass 8 hours by the end of 2022.