Digital Advertising Amid Coronavirus Crisis – Expected trends of Q4 of 2020


Well, the first two quarters of 2020 have been unexpectedly sad for the digital advertising industry. With brands curtailing marketing costs and publishers striving to monetize the increase of traffic, achieved because of the pandemic-related news wave, the global recession is rising on the horizon. 

However, since sticking with the right trends while improving your business strategy is essential for securing economic recovery, the fundamental question is: what’s next? 

While no one can be assured of what precisely will happen in terms of the COVID-19, it’s still feasible to make several informative opinions to build on.

Expectations high on the sell-side for Q4, 2020

Recently, IAB released its “Coronavirus Ad Revenue Impact” survey outcomes, which involved numerous vital observations. 

Predictably, around 70% of businessmen are already lowering their forecasts for 2020, given the sheer revenue drop over the past various months, both in the report and non-news segments. 

However, many of them keep their expectations up for H2’20, hoping the circumstances will improve.

The truth is, there is some firm thinking behind such idealism. First, numerous advertisers have shifted their ad campaigns to next dates, instead of discarding them for good, and are apparently ready to un-pause their digital marketing exercises as soon as the disease activity declines. 

Furthermore, a high share of businesses on the buy-side is now developing a collection of alternative anti-crisis strategies in case the second wave hits the world harder than anticipated. In other words, the digital advertising budgets will be most surely put into action closer to Q4 2020, one way or another. 

5G-fueled digital ad evolution on hold until 2021

The deployment of 5G base on a global scale has been anything but a manageable project from the very inception, claiming huge financial investment and extensive consumer readiness to upgrade. Yet, closer to the end of 2019 some sort of the cross-industry consent emerged that it would have been performed anyway, at least by 2025.

In the online advertising terms, this would indicate the beginning of a whole new age, emerging from comprehensive digital connectivity, with intricate, interactive ad formats, and great upgrades in programmatic infrastructure.

Well, at least, this was the idea. Yet, it’s not anymore.

From what it seems like right now, nearly everything around the deployment of 5G network across nations is currently suspended or at least postponed to Q4 2020, or even 2021. 

The deteriorating feeling comes as no shock though.

Ad expo market: Only the strongest to survive 2020

With all ad conferences and expos, originally scheduled for H1, 2020, delayed to the next year, it looks like only the most active players on the market will be able to alleviate their trials and happily adjust to the new realities. 

In this regard, while the future of MWC Barcelona, for example, remains unresolved, possibilities are many of us will meet up in person at the next year’s Programmatic I/O event. 

The prospects are apparently more glorious for conferences & expos, still scheduled for Q3-Q4, 2020, with similar privileges though. While organizers of great annual events, like DMEXCO can manage excessive spending on important social distancing measures, smaller companies may strive to comply with new requirements.

As for online expo modifications, these remain somewhat a provocative alternative to offline events. Sure, they might work as a substitute solution for conferences, but can’t offer much in regards to networking in this pandemic situation. 


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