US B2B Digital Advertising 2020

As US Ad Market Contracts in COVID-19’s Wake, B2B Digital Ad Spending Grows 22.6%

Executive Summary

While growth in the larger digital ad market has come to a stall during the pandemic, COVID-19 has pushed B2B advertisers to rely heavily on paid digital ads—more than ever before.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected US B2B digital advertising?

When B2B marketers could no longer connect with buyers in person, digital ads had to work overtime and have been a primary touchpoint to get in front of targeted audiences. We estimate that US B2Bs will spend $8.14 billion on digital ads this year, up 22.6% from 2019.

How are B2B advertisers reaching their audiences during the pandemic?

B2Bs are relying more on desktop formats to reach audiences. Sponsored webinars and virtual events through publishers are now the norm, as are search and social media ads.

Which B2B industries are driving growth in US B2B digital ad spending?

The pandemic has significantly affected the healthcare sector, which will have the most growth in US B2B digital ad spending this year, up 41.2% year over year. Tech products and services, financial services and telecom are also bolstering the B2B digital ad market’s upturn.

How has the coronavirus affected the B2B digital travel ad market?

While other sectors are expected to have strong growth during the pandemic, B2B digital travel ad spending will fall 44.5% this year.

How are B2Bs using account-based advertising?

B2Bs are adopting account-based marketing (ABM) ads at high rates to target very specific companies. Many relied on these types of targeted ads pre-pandemic, but the tactic is becoming increasingly popular due to a lack of in-person events. Still, targeting buyers at home could be challenging for B2Bs in the future, as most ABM ad vendors rely on reverse IP address detection and soon-to-be-dead cookies.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report breaks down the market factors and B2B-specific considerations that spurred the increase in US B2B digital ad spending. It also looks at the total B2B ad market and specific industry breakouts.

KEY STAT: In the US, B2B digital ad spending is growing 22.6% year over year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Behind the Numbers: Our Forecast Definition and Methodology
  3. Digital B2B Advertising Thrives Amid the Coronavirus as Traditional B2B Spend Plummets
  4. Industry Breakout: A Look at the Top Five Sectors’ Digital Ad Spending
  1. B2B Considerations for Targeting Buyers
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Ricky Abbott
Interviewed June 17, 2020
Mike Addonizio
Vice President, Paid Media
Interviewed April 27, 2020
Emily Anthony
Senior Director, Media Services
Interviewed April 2, 2020
Kevin Arsham
Partner, Group Director, B2B Media Specialist
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Steve Bagdasarian
Publishers Clearing House
Assistant Vice President and General Manager, Media and Monetization
Interviewed April 15, 2020
Kevin Lord Barry
Right Percent
Interviewed June 17, 2020
Erica Barth
General Manager, Edelman Digital Chicago
Interviewed April 13, 2020
Michael Bird
Dun & Bradstreet
President, Global Sales and Marketing Solutions Division
Interviewed April 23, 2020
Jordan Bitterman
Interviewed April 24, 2020
Robin Bordoli
Interviewed July 1, 2020
Michael Brenner
Marketing Insider Group
Interviewed April 7, 2020
Sean Clayton
SITO Mobile
Chief Strategy Officer and President of the Entertainment Division
Interviewed June 18, 2020
Gary Coichy
Pod Digital Media
Head of Partnerships
Interviewed June 18, 2020
Guthrie Collin
Dow Jones & Co.
Chief Analytics Officer
Interviewed April 8, 2020
Kate Cooper
Senior Vice President, B2B Marketing
Interviewed April 13, 2020
Dan Frohnen
Interviewed April 8, 2020
Ajit Ghuman
Head of Product Marketing
Interviewed June 16, 2020
Daniel Hellerman
Vice President of Digital Ads and General Manager, Advertising and Email
Interviewed July 1, 2020
Peter Isaacson
Interviewed April 29, 2020
Vasu Jakkal
FireEye, Inc.
Executive Vice President and CMO
Interviewed June 17, 2020
Jason Keath
Social Fresh
Interviewed June 26, 2020
Joe Kingsbury
US Managing Director, Edelman Business Marketing
Interviewed April 13, 2020
Ted Kohnen
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Kathy Macchi
Vice President, Consulting Services
Interviewed April 16, 2020
Michael McLaren
Global CEO, B2B Group
Interviewed May 4, 2020
Challin Meink
Senior Director, Marketing
Interviewed April 7, 2020
April Mullen
Director, Strategic Insights
Interviewed April 17, 2020
Mark Nardone
PAN Communications
Executive Vice President
Interviewed April 23, 2020
Kristen Powers
Centerline Digital
Vice President
Interviewed April 27, 2020
Keith Richey
Senior Director, Global Marketing
Interviewed July 2, 2020
Izzie Rivers
Merkle | DWA
Chief Strategy Officer
Interviewed April 21, 2020
Scott Roulet
BPA Worldwide
Vice President, B2B Media Exchange
Interviewed June 22, 2020
Jordan Rost
Head of Ad Marketing
Interviewed July 2, 2020
Chris Schermer
President, CEO
Interviewed July 1, 2020
Jon Schulz
Interviewed April 29, 2020
Ashley Shailer
Vice President, Marketing
Interviewed April 16, 2020
Justin Silberman
Vice President, Product
Interviewed June 25, 2020
Ayal Steiner
Vice President, Global Ad Revenue
Interviewed July 2, 2020
Jeremy Tate
Merkle | DWA
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Interviewed June 4, 2020
Kieley Taylor
Global Vice President, Social
Interviewed June 29, 2020
Alicia Tillman
Global CMO
Interviewed April 28, 2020
Leah Walters
Head of Communications
Interviewed April 8, 2020
Brian Wieser
Global President, Business Intelligence
Interviewed July 1, 2020
Michelle Yancey
Centerline Digital
Group Account Director
Interviewed April 27, 2020
Matthew Yorke
Northstar Travel Group
Chief Digital Officer
Interviewed July 1, 2020

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Senior Researcher
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Forecasting Analyst

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