Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Browse our upcoming and past events, recent podcasts, and other featured resources.
Learn More
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

July was the worst month for ad spending in 2 years

The news: July saw ad spending go through its worst monthly decline since July 2020. Ad spending contracted 12.7% year over year in July, per MediaPost and Standard Media Index’s US Ad Market Tracker.

  • July 2020 ad spending itself was low, down 17.8% from the year prior as the tail end of the COVID-19 recession played out.

Why is this happening? Ad spending soared during pandemic-induced lockdowns because of increased screen time and new digital advertising channels, but a confluence of factors have caused the market to cool down.

  • The first reason is simple: Lockdowns are over and people are returning to everyday life. That means less time on screens and more time out in public, which has given a boost to out-of-home (OOH) advertising and ads on non-visual platforms like Spotify.
  • Rising inflation has caused businesses to reexamine spending and has also pushed consumers to spend less. There’s debate about whether the US is currently in a recession, but buyers don’t seem optimistic—70% of consumers say they think there’s currently a recession, per Brand Keys.
  • On top of that, advertising norms have been shaken thanks to AppTrackingTransparency on iOS, a wave of privacy regulations, and the ever-delayed rolling out of third-party cookies on Chrome.
  • With spending falling and no post-ATT solution for digital advertising in sight, the outlook is spreading nerves.

The spillover: Whether the decrease in spending is a “downturn” or just a stabilization, the impact on advertising and related industries is undeniable. Companies that overextended during the pandemic by increasing ad spend or headcount are now pulling back.

  • Advertiser Perceptions reports that one in five marketers have cut their ad spending. Automakers, historically large advertising spenders, have instead put their money behind customer experience, prompting sweeping changes at ad agencies.
  • Layoffs have hit nearly every sector touched by advertising, even as US employment rises overall. Big Tech companies had a series of brutal earnings reports that prompted Snap, Meta, Netflix, and others to begin layoffs.
  • Publishers like The New York Times reported ad revenue drops in Q2, but it was saved by rising subscription revenues. Others weren’t so lucky: Gannett began mass layoffs that affected at least 13 news outlets across the country on Friday. Vox, Recurrent Ventures, and others have also slashed headcount as ad revenues dwindled.

What’s here to stay: The contraction has wounded many sectors of the ad industry, but has also revealed which pandemic shifts are here to stay.

  • OOH ad spending will grow in 2022, but at a much slower rate than its digital counterparts, even as the world reclaims some normalcy from the pandemic.
  • The post-ATT and third-party cookie landscape has given rise to new digital advertising channels. Influencer marketing has emerged as a cheaper alternative to traditional channels for Big Tech and many brands, though it has its own kinks to work out.
  • Retailers from Michaels to Walmart have raced to launch retail media ad networks to tap into the still-growing pool of global ad spending. That same frenzy has come for streaming services, who are all rushing to launch ad-supported subscription tiers to meet consumers’ desire for cheaper subscriptions and advertiser demand for high-impact ads.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Marketing & Advertising Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the advertising industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.