Marketing spend 11 min read

50+ valuable marketing spend statistics for 2021

Jocelyn Ho

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed how consumers and businesses around the world discover, buy, and sell products and services. As brick-and-mortar shops and offices closed their doors, online shopping, food delivery, streaming services, and remote work quickly skyrocketed–becoming the new norm. 

In this article, we shared 50+ eye-opening marketing spend statistics across different advertising platforms and mediums. These numbers highlight changes and trends brought on by the pandemic, as well as companies’ plans to grow with the worst of it (hopefully) behind them.

Let’s kick it off with numbers that illustrate current attitudes towards marketing in general.

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Company marketing spend

How do businesses spend on marketing in general?

  • Around 72% of marketing chiefs said the “importance of marketing” has grown in their companies over the last year. (The CMO Survey)
  • Consumers across the globe spent $900 billion more at online retailers in 2020 versus the prior two-year trend. (Mastercard Economics Institute)
  • 62% of American consumers say that they shop more online now than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Influencer Marketing Hub)

Consequently, many marketers across all industries have exponentially increased their spend on digital transformation and online campaigns, in an effort to quickly adjust to growing consumer demands for digital experiences in the global marketplace. 

From paid ads and software fees, to agency services and contracted labor–teams can quickly rack up a range of marketing expenses

The current state of marketing budgets

A general overview of marketing spend activity around the world shows that it’s constantly changing–whether that’s steady or rapid growth and decline.

Despite the dips in ad budgets and revenue for many sectors over the past year, research shows that these same industries will likely recover over time. 

  • The average marketing budget for B2B firms accounts for 13% of company revenue. (Business 2 Community, 2021)
  • Worldwide advertising revenue is forecasted to jump 10.2% to a record $651 billion in 2021, after falling 4.1% in 2020. (Ad Age)
  • Digital ad fraud committed by hackers and bots will cause US advertisers $15.9 billion in losses in 2021. (Wordstream)
  • Across the globe, the automotive industry experienced the greatest fall in advertising spend in 2020, losing almost €13 billion. (WARC)
  • Travel & tourism sectors also cut ad spend sharply by 33.8% in 2020, but is projected to be one of the fastest-growing sectors in 2021 with over 19.5% growth. (WARC)
  • Thinking optimistically, 95% of CMOs believe the post-COVID-19 economic curve will be V-shaped–either expecting a return to business-as-usual in the next 18-24 months, or a significant positive impact going forward. (WNIP)

Digital advertising spend

Even as certain industries have struggled during the last couple years, others have thrived under the current circumstances. As the world continues to move towards an increasingly online-connected lifestyle, companies have adjusted their strategies and refocused their ad spend priorities to market to consumers’ changing needs.

  • Global digital ad spend is estimated to increase by 17%, reaching $389 billion in 2021. That’s 14.6% more than the major dip in growth in 2020. (eMarketer)
  • In 2020, Amazon held a 10.3% share of the U.S. digital-ads market, with Google holding 28.9% and Facebook 25.2%. (Fast Company)
  • Amazon is the world’s largest and fastest-growing online ad buyer, estimated to spend $17 million on digital ads and promotions in 2021. (Pattern)
  • That being said, Google has been the market leader in online advertising for more than a decade and is expected to command 29% of global digital ad revenue in 2021. (CNBC

Mobile advertising is more important than ever with increased smartphone use worldwide and marketing spend is reflecting that:

  • 97% of US internet users today own mobile devices and 90.2% of them use these devices to access the internet. (DataReportal)
  • Nearly 25% of companies invest in mobile optimization as a top SEO tactic. (HubSpot)
  • Mobile display ad spend reached $61 billion in 2020, a 22% increase from 2019. More than half of display ad spending was on rich media, which included a majority of mobile video ad content. (eMarketer)
  • Overall ad spend for mobile devices is forecasted to hit over $137 billion in 2022, and $156.38 billion by 2023. (eMarketer)

Paid search ads are changing the game for advertisers, small to medium businesses and global enterprises alike:

  • Mobile search ads can increase brand awareness by 46%, while more than 50% of smartphone users have discovered a new product or company when performing a search on their mobile device. (SEO Tribunal)
  • In 2021, marketers will spend nearly $71 billion on paid search ads in the US–$26.5 billion on desktop/laptops and $44.3 billion on mobile placements. (eMarketer)
  • The average CPA in Google Ads across all industries is $56.11 for search and $90.80 for display network. (Instapage)

Content marketing spend

Although many may associate advertising spend with traditional “blast” messaging, content marketing is on the rise–and fast. This marketing strategy increases ROI and efficacy of marketing spend by providing valuable, engaging, and relevant content to targeted audiences

  • 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing and 24% plan on increasing their investment in content marketing in 2020. (HubSpot

Video content in particular is one of the most popular formats for digital ad campaigns:

  • Online video is expected to be the fastest-growing ad format in 2021, with spend up by 12.8%. (WARC, 2021)
  • 60% of marketers expect the pandemic to affect their video marketing budget for 2021. Of these, 7 out of 10 say their budget will increase. (Wyzowl)
  • 96% of marketers have placed ad spend on video content and 91% of marketers are satisfied with the ROI of video marketing on social media. (Animoto)
  • 78% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales. (Wyzowl)

Social media spend statistics

From Facebook and Instagram, to TikTok and Snapchat–marketers across the globe are increasing their ad spend on a diverse array of social network platforms to achieve their business objectives and reach target audiences. 

  • In 2021, total social media advertising spending by US companies is expected to exceed $44 billion, a 16.34% increase from 2020. (Oberlo)
  • There are 3.78 billion social media users around the world–and growing. (Oberlo)
  • 93% of businesses say they’ve landed a new customer because of a video on social media. (Animoto)
  • 60% of all businesses are planning to increase their Instagram budget, and almost half are planning to do the same for Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. (Hootsuite)

Facebook

Instagram

  • Globally, 52% of marketers are expected to increase spending on Instagram ads in 2021. (WARC)
  • In the US, Instagram is projected to reach $18.16 billion in annual ad sales in 2021, a 26% increase compared to the previous year’s estimate. (Statista)
  • Instagram’s global potential advertising reach is 1.16 billion users, including a global youth audience of 83 million users. (Hootsuite)
  • 4 million businesses use Instagram Stories ads monthly and 58% of Instagram users say they’re more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories. (Instagram

TikTok

  • Millennials and Gen Z generations have a combined global spending power of $4.4 trillion and growing. (Campaign)
  • TikTok has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide and more than 60% of them are Gen Z. (Vogue Business)
  • TikTok ad spend is expected to grow 44% in 2021, 5% more than Facebook’s estimated growth. (Wordstream)
  • 67% of users say that TikTok inspired them to find out more about a product or brand, 74% of users say it helped them decide what to buy, and 66% of users say the app has inspired them to shop even when they weren’t planning to do so. (TikTok)
  • TikTok made $540 million in ad revenue in 2020, despite the fact that only 9% of marketers use TikTok as part of their marketing strategy. (Spend Me Not)
  • TikTok recommends $100,000 – $200,000+ in ad spend within TikTok to promote a hashtag challenge campaign. (Adweek)
  • TikTok brand takeover ads cost marketers anywhere between $20,000 — $200,000 in ad spend. (Digiday)

Snapchat

  • Marketers experience on average 7x ROAS (return on ad spend) with Snapchat ads. (Snapchat)
  • Snapchat reaches more than 70% of 13-34 year olds in countries comprising over half the world's digital ad spend. (Snapchat)
  • In Q2 2021, Snap's advertising revenue jumped 116% to $982 million, beating its highest growth in 4 years. (Reuters)

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Traditional advertising spend statistics

Consumer behaviors have changed dramatically even before COVID. As digital transformation and internet accessibility have become more widespread, there’s been a gradual drop in traditional ad spend across all industries–although these formats aren’t going to disappear overnight.

  • Traditional advertising in the US continues to show negative expected growth at -0.2% in 2021. (The CMO Survey)
  • Globally, traditional ad spend across formats including newspaper, television, and outdoor advertising are predicted to fall by 20.7%. (Finances Online)
  • During the midst of the pandemic, traditional ad spend in the USA fell by 35% in June 2020. (Finances Online)
  • Total estimated advertising revenue for the newspaper industry in 2020 was $8.8 billion, down 29% from 2019. (Pew Research Center)
  • Television still remains the largest worldwide media channel, making up more than 30% of global ad spend. (Marketing Edge)

Like television ads, some traditional marketing platforms have persevered through the digital revolution by adapting to their digital counterparts. As resolutions such as The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) arise from the fight for internet user privacy, marketers are looking for alternative ways to reach and collect data from their customers to provide more relevant experiences.

  • Within the newspaper industry, digital advertising is expected to generate more than $7.24 billion in revenue. (Finances Online)
  • Thanks to digital innovation in smart TVs (also known as connected TVs), television advertising spend is now expected to grow by 9.3% in 2021. (Group M)
  • Digital mobile ads drove more than 162 billion phone calls to businesses in 2019. 85% of marketers believe phone conversations are a key component of their digital strategy. (Invoca)

The first-party data collected from these inbound customer service calls is invaluable for marketers, who can glean deeper and honest insights from intimate one-one-one conversations with their customers. 

Marketing spend going forward

Despite the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, the good news is that e-commerce and digital-savvy consumer behaviors are likely to stick in the long-run, even as market trends continue to evolve over time. In order to succeed, marketers must continue to adapt at a moment’s notice to unexpected circumstances while maintaining consumer confidence. 

No matter the size or industry of the company, managing marketing budgets is no easy feat. Juggling ad spend, subscriptions, and reimbursements for your team can be overwhelming, but you can simplify and streamline those processes with our all-in-one spend management solution at Spendesk. 

We're here to help.

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Jocelyn Ho

Jocelyn Ho is the founder of Newlance Consulting, a digital marketing consultancy in Paris. She's also a regular contributor to Spendesk as a part-time member of the marketing team.