9th Annual Ad Outlook Survey

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John Blackledge, Internet Analyst, discusses the results of Cowen’s 9th Annual Ad Outlook report, Ad Buyer Survey IX: 2021 U.S. Ad Recovery Led by Digital Growth & Post-Pandemic Rebound. The results are based on a survey with senior U.S. ad buyers responsible for a cumulative spend of $15 billion. He shares long term digital advertising trends and how COVID-19 has impacted advertising spend. Press play to learn more.


I’m John Blackledge, Head of Internet Equity Research at Cowen. 

We published our 9th Annual Ad Outlook report today, based on our survey of 50 senior U.S. ad buyers, who place about $15 billion of U.S. ad spend across all key ad mediums. The results were largely positive for digital advertising growth in the coming years. 

3 Key Points

  1. Ad buyers surveyed expect digital advertising to continue that long-term trend of taking share from traditional ad mediums, like TV and print, while spend is also expected to shift from trade show and live event budgets due to the pandemic. We forecast global digital advertising growth to accelerate in 2021, up about 18% y/y vs. about 10% growth in 2020 and growing low double digits annually the next five years.
  2. Digital Video is expected to be the fastest growing ad medium within digital advertising. We expect global digital video advertising to grow about 15% annually the next five years, largely led by mobile, as 56% of the ad buyers said mobile video ads are more or equally as effective as TV when conveying a brand message. 
  3. And lastly, COVID continues to impact the global ad market. 60% of the ad buyers said that they were below normal ad spend in 2020, while about 80% are still spending below normal levels. About half of those ad buyers suggested normalized spend by mid ’21 and the remainder by the start of 2022.

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