7 in 10 US Media Buyers Uncertain of Their 2021 Ad Budgets

October 1, 2020

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Creative & Formats | Digital | Social Media | Spending & Spenders

IAB Media Buyer 2021 Ad Budget Uncertainty Oct2020Since early on in the coronavirus pandemic advertisers’ ad dollars have been in flux, with a significant portion of spending being diverted away from traditional media to digital, while other budgets were being cut. For many ad buyers, 2021 still holds a lot of uncertainty, with 7 in 10 not having a lot of clarity about their ad budgets for the coming year, per a new report from the IAB.

A plurality (40%) of US ad buyers surveyed say they currently only have ballpark estimates regarding their ad budget outlook for 2021, while others are not clear (26% share) or have no idea (4%). Only 1 in 10 (9%) are very clear on their ad budget outlook for next year, with 2 in 10 (21%) saying they are somewhat clear.

In other words, ad buyers are as likely to lack any certainty as to next year’s budgets as they are to have clarity about them.

Nonetheless, the 7 in 10 buyers who have at least ballpark estimates for their 2021 budget are optimistic about what’s coming, with expectations of ad budget increases averaging 5.3%. This percentage is similar to a global forecast from Zenith Media which has ad spend growing by 5.8% in 2021.

And, while buyers are feeling uncertain about their upcoming budgets, there’s some consensus in other areas: the majority can agree that they are concerned about ad adjacency to content posted by consumers on social media. In fact, 9 in 10 expressed some level of concern with their brand’s ads being adjacent to controversial user-generated content on social media sites. The largest share (41%) expressed that they were extremely concerned, while others said they were fairly concerned (27%) or slightly concerned (22%).

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of buy-side respondents (56% share) from a survey of 242 buy- and sell-side respondents who have purview into US advertising spend and revenue in 2020.

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