New Kenshoo Research: Paid Search and Social Advertising Rebound in Q3 After Marketers Deferred Spending Earlier in 2020

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After marketers adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and supported social justice issues through ad boycotts, ad dollars re-emerged for an early holiday push

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With the holiday season kicking off soon, marketers ended Q3 at a solid launching point for that seasonal push to reach consumers.

Kenshoo (, a global leader in marketing technology, today released The Kenshoo Q3 2020 Quarterly Trends Report and an accompanying infographic, detailing Q3 digital advertising spending and performance. Both social (16%, 11%) and paid search (25%, 28%) spending increased year-over-year (YoY) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) as marketers reinvested budgets deferred earlier in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice issues. Investment in Ecommerce Ads remained high, growing 45% YoY, even without the traditional Amazon Prime Day bump.

Facebook Boycott Rebound
Total monthly spending across Paid Social ads got back on track in August after two months marked by advertiser pushback on social justice issues. Compared to July, spending increased 24% for August.

Other key metrics:

  • Impressions increased 27% YoY but decreased 5% QoQ
  • Clicks increased 16% YoY but decreased 7% QoQ
  • Click-through rate decreased 9% YoY and 1% QoQ
  • Cost-per-thousand impressions decreased 9% YoY while increasing 17% QoQ

The Paid Search “Shelf”
Total paid search spending jumped 17% from June to July, as many advertisers considered the first month of the third quarter as a clear demarcation from the pandemic effects of Q2 and reinvested in the channel accordingly.

Other key metrics:

  • Impressions increased 66% YoY and 2% QoQ
  • Clicks increased 49% YoY and 6% QoQ
  • Click-through rate declined 11% YoY but increased 5% QoQ
  • Cost-per-click decreased 16% YoY but increased 20% QoQ

The Summer of Ecommerce
Advertisers spent 43% more on the Ecommerce channel in September than they did in April, even as spending levels leveled off somewhat during the Prime Day-less summer. Kenshoo’s support for ad inventory on accelerated impression growth in the channel as retailers expanded their footprint in the space.

Other key metrics:

  • Impressions increased 126% YoY and 25% QoQ
  • Clicks increased 56% YoY and 5% QoQ

“In the world of paid media, the second half of the year is looking to be more a reaction to, versus continuation of, the first. As marketers made strategic choices in response to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic or related to the changing socio-political climate, they pulled back ad budgets,” said Chris Costello, senior director of marketing research for Kenshoo, “but as they adapted to the ‘new normal,’ those ad budgets returned in a big way, showing that the money ticketed for digital buys didn’t disappear. It was simply deferred. With the holiday season kicking off soon, marketers ended Q3 at a solid launching point for that seasonal push to reach consumers.”

Visit to download the full report, to view the infographic, or, Kenshoo’s Quarterly Trends Report research hub.

Analysis is drawn from a population of nearly $7B in advertising spend, comprising over 3,000 advertiser and agency accounts across 40 vertical industries and over 150 countries running on the Kenshoo platform across Google, Microsoft, Baidu, Yandex, Yahoo! Japan, Verizon Media, Amazon, Walmart, Apple Search Ads, Pinterest, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network.

Except where noted in the report, only advertisers with 15 consecutive months of performance data are included. Some additional outliers have been excluded. Ad spending and pricing have been translated to USD at the time the spending was incurred.

About Kenshoo
Kenshoo is the leading marketing technology platform for brands looking to plan, activate and measure growth strategies across the most-engaging digital channels. Kenshoo offers the only marketing solution that combines data-driven insights and best-of-breed optimization to help make informed decisions, scale and measure performance across Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Walmart, Roundel, Instacart, Apple Search Ads, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Verizon Media, Yandex, Yahoo Japan, and Baidu. Kenshoo’s machine-learning algorithms and artificial intelligence leverage market signals and enable companies to predict and keep pace with the omnichannel customer journey. Kenshoo has 27 international locations and backing by Sequoia Capital, Arts Alliance, Tenaya Capital, and Bain Capital Ventures. Please visit for more information.

Kenshoo brand and product names are trademarks of Kenshoo Ltd. Other company and brand names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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