New Kenshoo Research: Year-Over-Year Spending Grew Across all Digital Advertising Channels in Q1 Despite Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

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Healthy growth in January and February buoyed spending; after the initial decline in March, weekly spending stabilized across multiple channels.

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There’s no debate COVID-19 had an impact on digital advertising in Q1, but the impact was mostly limited to March, after which spending has begun to stabilize across channels.

Kenshoo (, a global leader in marketing technology, today released The Kenshoo Q1 2020 Quarterly Trends Report and an accompanying infographic, detailing Q1 spending in all channels during the unprecedented-in-the-digital-age global COVID-19 pandemic. Social (25%), paid search (1%) and ecommerce advertising (47%) spending all grew year-over-year (YoY).

As the only marketing platform that combines data-driven insights and optimization technology to help make informed decisions, scale and measure performance across all major publishers, Kenshoo identifies the trends shaping each stage of the consumer journey, including the impact of COVID-19:

  • Ecommerce advertising surged in Q1, riding a wave of increased activity in March as shoppers prepared for an enforced stay-at-home lifestyle
  • Computers & Electronics: This category picked up across channels in March as households shored up their electronics to better adjust to spending more time at home both for - - Consumer Packaged Goods: Spending and click-through rate (CTR) increased in March as online shoppers bought personal care items in large quantities, but the lower unit price of these items translated to lower costs-per-click (CPC)
  • Q2 Preview: After an initial decline, total spending for both the paid search and paid social channels leveled off and began growing into the middle of April

Detailed findings on social and paid search advertising performance in Q1, measured on a same-advertiser basis, include:

  • Social spending increased 25% YoY and decreased 18% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ)
  • Social impressions increased 35% YoY and 11% QoQ
  • Social clicks increased 40% YoY and decreased 6% QoQ
  • Social cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions decreased 7% YoY and 26% QoQ
  • Paid search spending increased 1% YoY and decreased 19% QoQ
  • Paid search impressions increased 5% YoY and decreased 20% QoQ
  • Paid search clicks increased 4% YoY and decreased 13% QoQ
  • Paid search CPC decreased 3% YoY and increased 7% QoQ

“There’s no debate COVID-19 had an impact on digital advertising in Q1, but the impact was mostly limited to March, after which spending has begun to stabilize across channels,” said Chris Costello, senior director of marketing research for Kenshoo. “While recovery will vary by industry category, April spending growth in both paid search and social indicates a recovery is already underway for many categories. Ecommerce advertising’s growth indicates the valuable role of major online retailers like Amazon and Walmart are playing for both consumers and advertisers while much of the population shelters in place.”

From driving demand in social, to exploring in search, and closing the sale in ecommerce, Kenshoo connects advertiser messages directly with consumers. With machine learning intelligence to drive unparalleled performance, Kenshoo integrates directly with more social, search and ecommerce platforms than any other marketing solution.

Visit to download the full report, to view the infographic, or, Kenshoo’s QTR 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. Contrary to previous reports, ad spending and pricing have been translated to USD at the time the spending was incurred, and do not use Ex-FX, or "constant currency" dollars.

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, 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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