US digital ad spending saw mixed results across industries last year. On the one hand, total spending growth slowed from its pre-pandemic pace, and two industries—automotive and travel—severely cut back on their budgets. On the other hand, several industries unexpectedly accelerated their digital investments, as the pandemic created new consumer behaviors that drove more of their business online.
Collectively, digital ad spending across all industries increased by 14.9% year over year in 2020, a moderate deceleration from the previous several years. For 2021, we anticipate a strong rebound overall, at 25.5%, but industry-level performance will continue to diverge widely.
Last year, among the 10 industry verticals we cover, shifts in spending ranged from a 30.5% increase to a 51.0% decrease. This year, however, every industry will raise ad spending by at least 10%. Some will demonstrate massive rebounds, whereas others will hold steady or even rein in their growth.