The Current State of Media Buyers and Ad Spending

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting the ad spending strategies of brand marketers.

According to a report by Advertiser Perceptions, 69% of brand marketers who were part of the first wave, between March 17 and 22, anticipated a major impact on Q2 ad spending. For the Q2 during the second wave, conducted between April 1 and 4, the predicted major impact on ad spending reached 86%. 

Meanwhile, the majority of the Q3 in the first wave anticipated a moderate impact on ad spending. This number remained the same in the second wave at 46%. 

As for Q4 in the first wave, 38% of the respondents predicted a minor impact on ad spending, while the second wave counterpart was at 33%. It should be noted that the majority of the marketers within Q4 of the second wave, at 47%, anticipated a moderate impact.

Another report, this time conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), paints a similar picture in terms of the change in ad spending. The IAB’s March 2020 study found that 70% of media buyers and decision makers within U.S. agencies made changes to their ad spending during Q2. The majority of these respondents, at 58%, pertained to media buyers and planners who worked at agencies. Meanwhile, individuals who worked with brands were at 42%. 

The report also noted that 25% of respondents noted changes being made for H2 of 2020. The majority of respondents, at 67%, however, said that H2  ad spending was still to be determined. 

In terms of where exactly these changes in ad spending and revenue are taking place, another IAB report estimated that revenues generated through digital display ads would decrease by 25%. For digital audio, the predicted decrease was 21%, while digital video and social media were both at a 20% decline. In addition, paid search was predicted to see a 19% decrease when it comes to short-term changes caused by COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to change, so do these business operations. Business leaders should therefore communicate with their media buyers when it comes to budget changes and how they may affect a company as a whole. This type of communication can involve in-depth discussions about the latest industry trends, response methods, as well as economic indicators of ad spending effectiveness. 

In order to make it through these challenging economic times caused by the effects of COVID-19, businesses must either adapt to new strategies or make changes to their current ones. Ensuring that the budget and changes are aligned with business goals is another key component of success. 

The Find Your Audience team is ready to provide businesses with the thorough market research required to reach these results. With an emphasis on performance-based results and the ability to develop customized marketing and ad spending strategies, the team will take businesses to the next level even during uncertain times. To contact the Find Your Audience team, call 647-479-0688 or email

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