Global Digital Ad Spending Update Q2 2020

Only China Experiences Positive Growth, and Google Declines for First Time

Executive Summary

In a tumultuous year for advertising amid the coronavirus pandemic and multiple recessions, every market we cover will experience a decline in ad spending except China. Google will see its first ever contraction in digital ad revenues, as search advertising will struggle compared with display.

What is the outlook for global ad spending in 2020?

Overall ad spending will decline by 4.9% worldwide this year, a significant drop from last year’s 6.3% growth and from our pre-pandemic 2020 forecast of 7.0% growth. The total figure will come in at $614.73 billion, which represents $76.99 billion less new revenues than previously expected.

Will digital ad spending perform better?

Worldwide digital ad spending will achieve 2.4% growth this year, the lowest on record. Although this figure is still positive, the category has never been in single digits. The $332.84 billion total for 2020 represents $36.11 billion less spending than our pre-pandemic forecast.

How will display ad spending compare with search?

Idiosyncratic outcomes associated with the coronavirus’ social impact have hindered the search ad business more than the display ad business. We estimate that globally search ad spending will decline by 0.2% this year to $135.25 billion, whereas display spending will increase by 5.3% to $179.39 billion.

What does this mean for the Google-Facebook duopoly?

Google will suffer a 3.3% loss in ad revenues this year (its first negative result since our tracking began), driven in part by a huge decline in travel-related search queries. Facebook will muddle through with 5.9% growth on the strength of its display business. This is still a significant downturn compared with Facebook’s 26.6% growth in ad revenues in 2019.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report features our latest forecast for overall ad spending, digital ad spending, display ad spending, search ad spending and traditional ad spending worldwide.

KEY STAT: Digital ad spending will grow 2.4% worldwide this year, the first time on record that growth has been in single digits. The $332.84 billion total for 2020 represents $36.11 billion less spending than our pre-pandemic forecast anticipated.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. An Overview of Our Latest Global Ad Spending Forecast
  3. The Continuing Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic
  1. The Digital Landscape: Display Up, Search Down
  2. Market Comparisons: The US, China and the Rest of the World
  3. Google Loses Ground, Facebook Inches Up
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Read Next
  3. Media Gallery

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Ethan Cramer-Flood


Shelleen Shum
Director, Forecasting
Brian Lau
Digital Apprentice
Rini Mukhopadhyay
Forecasting Analyst
Peter Vahle
Forecasting Analyst
Eric Haggstrom
Forecasting Analyst
Zach Goldner
Junior Forecasting Analyst

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