Total US ad spend across all media could be down 8% in 2020, but that figure from the IAB doesn’t tell the whole story: traditional media spending is set to fall by 30% while digital media will rise by 6%.

The figures come from the sixth wave of IAB’s 2020 buy/sell-side survey; the 2020/21 Advertising Impact Survey focuses on advertising buyers spend for 2020 and estimates for 2021.

While this sees “light at the end of the tunnel” for digital advertising, the news is “dour” for traditional media.

With consumers spending more time with digital during COVID-19 quarantines – 10% more in March-July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 – ad spending has inevitably followed

Paid Search (+26%) and Social (+25%) are among those with most impressive gains. CTV (+19%) , Digital Video (+18%) and Digital Display (+15%) also perform strongly.

Digital Audio (-5%) and Podcasts (-8%) show slight decreases vs 2019, however – this despite enjoying spend shifts in H1 – while DOOH takes a big hit, down 43% year on year.

Traditional OOH (-46%) is also the biggest loser among traditional media in the IAB figures, but spending on Print (-33%), Terrestrial Radio (-31%) and Linear TV (-24%) are all expected to be significantly down as well.

The picture for 2021, meanwhile, remains uncertain. Just 9% of buyers indicated that they have clearly defined budgets for next year while 70% are not clear or have ballpark estimates at best. But among those with a view, spend is expected to increase by 5.3%.

The survey also looked at brand anxieties around user-generated content (UGC) and social, identifying a high degree of concern about the potential for ads to appear next to controversial content posted by consumers.

Further, despite the increase in social spending noted above, almost half of buyers (46%) had paused/were planning to pause or had cancelled/were planning to cancel social media ad placements.

Sourced from IAB