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Key Media Insights from Merkle’s 2021 Q2 Digital Marketing Report

In Q2 2021, consumers shifted their digital purchasing behavior as pandemic limitations relaxed in the US. However, manufacturing and shipping challenges impacting supply and delivery pipelines nationally, which was highlighted in mid-late Q2, as Amazon’s Prime Day took place in June. In a rebounding economy, travel and B2B advertisers made their long-awaited growth acceleration.

Let’s dive into some of the key insights from Q2:

Facebook Ad Spend Grew ~68% Y/Y as The US Emerged from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Facebook ad spend year over year

Facebook spending saw massive growth for Q2 (+68% Y/Y) as the US began to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic that had begun exactly a year prior.

Q2 was a pivotal quarter in both 2020 and 2021, aligning with the onset of and emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic. Q2 2020 saw the lowest Y/Y increase in spend of all quarters (+4%) since 2019, magnifying the Q2 2021 Y/Y increase (+68%). Advertisers ramped up social efforts following an unprecedented year of store closures and business constraints, driving increased competition and higher CPM within Facebook this past quarter.

Spending on Amazon Sponsored Products Increased Y/Y, Sales Up to a Lesser Extent

Spending on Amazon Sponsored Brands

Spend growth for Amazon Sponsored Product ads increased 28% YoY, due to CPC hikes (+55%) and Prime Day in June. For the first quarter in recent years, clicks growth saw a deceleration, dropping 18%. Sales were up 8%, showing modest growth but not keeping pace with spend trends. 

Smaller Social Platforms See Uptick in Total Social Spend Share (46%) Q/Q

TikTok takes third

Driven primarily by large Q/Q bumps in spend share for Pinterest (2x) and Snapchat (5x), the smaller social platforms are increasing their presence in the media mix for brands also running Facebook and Instagram. Moving into Q2 2021, TikTok made its debut with a 0.5% share in social spend, edging out LinkedIn as a top 3 smaller social platform (down 97% in spend share Q/Q).

Want to learn more? Check out Merkle’s 2021 Q2 Digital Marketing Report here.

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