COVID-19 had an incredible and unforeseeable impact on every aspect of life, particularly on businesses, globally. Unfortunately, everybody in the marketing industry knows that when a company is hard-hit financially, their field, traditionally, is the first budget to be cut. So, why is it that as we are slowly but surely moving towards economic recovery, spending on digital ads has increased by almost half, compared to at the same time in 2019? (Information from IAB UK’s Adspend report for the first half of 2021, conducted with PWC).

Why has the growth in Adspend occurred?

There was a 49% increase in 2021 to £10.5bn from the dip of £7.1bn spent in 2020. The IAB has recorded this as the highest jump ever. Understandably, there was a dip in digital ad spend in 2020 – covering the initial lockdown period whilst people and businesses alike struggled financially. That trend has since been forgotten!

Since March 2020, designers and advertisers have needed to innovate and test methods that had never been seen before to allow for a digital-led world to be the norm, something that also just happened to become the key to business survival. In-home media usage increased to unprecedented levels. Face-to-face businesses adapted to the web, and Amazon revelled in their next-day delivery empire.

In short, COVID catalysed the digital-led world exponentially for large corporations and small businesses alike.

Why did businesses turn to Adspend?

Most businesses that survived the hardships of Coronavirus did so by exploiting digital marketing, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and paid search. Companies understood that people were reluctant to leave their homes – if they were to, consumers would often search for the item they were looking for before leaving the house to confirm stock availability and relevant details – creating the perfect conditions for SEO as businesses could take the time to optimise their online presence for the internet searches at the time.

Similarly, businesses had to shift according to lifestyle changes. Lockdown brought everybody home; everything from the cinema to networking was suddenly from the comfort of living rooms. Advertisers had no choice but to respond accordingly – it became more targeted than ever. The challenging circumstances meant that companies had to be resourceful and innovative whilst using their initiative – everything was new! Marketers became harsh with their resources – prioritising the successful schemes and abandoning the time-wasting and useless (and often expensive) ones. This included display banners (reduced spending by 2%) and classified spending (reduced by 30%). At the same time, podcast spending was up 43%, spending on smartphone ads grew by 10%, and time spent with social media grew by 12% (IAB UK), proving that although some advertising was abandoned, many new methods were welcomed and utilised to their maximum ability.

Adspend allowed for brick-and-mortar companies, face-to-face boutiques, high street stores and everything in between to advertise online and remain competitive whilst people were at home. Adspend is cheaper and more efficient than billboarding and handing out flyers – and way more exciting and adaptable!

Marketing Post-COVID!

Digital marketing was slowly but steadily infiltrating the business world – COVID gave it the boost it needed. Marketing will never return to the methods, costs, and practices of pre-March 2020, as the world fell into lockdown and confided to the phone in their hand – no wonder companies worldwide have taken advantage of the great opportunities this has brought for them to market their product.

Digital Marketing Specialist

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