The Top-Performing Ad Sectors of Q2 2020

Best to worst, from TikTok to Amazon

standing over money
Some companies had a strong quarter. Getty Images

There’s more strong evidence that the media landscape has changed forever, especially the marketer’s need for flexibility and inclination for performance marketing. There’s the continued growth of DTC with self-serve tools helping SMBs. Agencies continue to struggle. We’re seeing sequential month-over-month revenue growth throughout. The potential sale of TikTok and iOS 14 looming, not to mention the presidential election and the Covid-19 vaccine, make Q3/Q4 outlook virtually impossible. 

My thoughts on the quarter 

  • Flexibility for advertisers is paramount, especially the ability to swap out creative and pause campaigns in minutes, not days. 
  • Stream or die, DTC is the only way media companies survive long term; the companies that went CTV earlier are seeing real gains. 
  • Snapchat with an impressively strong quarter, they are doing something right over there. 
  • DotDosh a strong performer as well; intent-based content works. 
  • AT&T is not looking good; they need a new strategy and probably a spin off of the Warner Media assets. 
  • Self-serve tools with pixels for verification continue to drive the advertising business; this has been clear for the past 3-5 years. 
  • For the most part, CPMs continue to decline as impressions rise, Facebook saw the total number of ad impressions served across the services increase 40% and the average price per ad decreased 21%, and Roku monetized video ad impressions grew roughly 50% year over year in Q2.
  • Print, radio and TV got killed across the board; not sure print and radio can come back as we know them.  
  • TV really missed live sports.
  • Performance marketing continues to grow.
  • Facebook and Google went in different revenue directions, was not expecting to ever see that pre-Covid.
  • The Google search monopoly had a down quarter, first time ever.  
  • Pinterest with amazing July numbers, a safe Facebook alternative perhaps? 
  • Twitter continues to disappoint again and again from a revenue perspective. 
  • Agencies continue their steady decline; when does it stop?  
  • Amazon advertising growth is remarkable as the smallest leg of the triopoly.
  • Sequential monthly improvements throughout the industry after April lows.
  • Amazing that Facebook has over 9 million advertisers; I assume Google has fewer?
  • TV was able to reduce ad loads as advertiser demand went down—nice to see them care about the user/viewer experience for once and not push 18+ minutes of ads per hour.
  • Luxury, auto, entertainment and travel advertisers declined the most in Q2 and will probably be the same in Q3.  
  • What will become of TikTok? I still think they can compete with the triopoly if all the cards fall in place and Microsoft acquires the company and then uses the LinkedIn ad machine for monetization.
  • Like GDPR, iOS14 is looming over the industry. 
  • Time to take out costs when applicable; cost reductions are real and probably long overdue across the industry.

  • The marketplace remains volatile as the virus and consumer behavior evolve.
  • There is still much uncertainty about the economic environment as reopening has stalled in a number of geographies and the status of government support programs remains unclear.
  • Seeing businesses accelerate the digitization of every part of their operations from manufacturing to sales and customer service.
  • Reimagine how they meet customer needs from curbside pickup and contactless shopping in retail to telemedicine and health care.
  • The future of business will be more digital.
  • The future of work will be more collaborative. 
  • Virtual collaboration is critical in order to adapt and succeed in the changing global landscape. 
  • These are certainly complex times, and there are few who have not been touched in some manner. 
  • The coronavirus has irrevocably changed businesses.
  • Businesses in expediting preexisting digital trends, in challenging established practices and in prompting necessary introspection about work habits and the workplace itself.
  • We believe this reflects economic optimism for a gradual recovery.
  • These continue to be challenging times for our world.
  • The impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, our communities, businesses and way of life has been devastating.
  • The majority of businesses worldwide have experienced unprecedented disruption as a result of the pandemic.
  • We have emerged from our industry’s darkest of dates.
  • We are now beginning to see improvements in travel patterns, consumer behavior and economic activity in varying degrees.
  • While we would have all hoped that by now we have a clear line of sight to the end of the pandemic, hope is not a strategy, and it’s my job to ensure that we are well-prepared for any scenario.
  • I think that we pivoted in a big way.
  • We took some tough actions as it relates to costs. 
  • We said goodbye to some near and dear colleagues of ours, but we have secured the path forward. 
  • Proactively manage through the pandemic, taking significant steps to strengthen our business, preserve the value of our assets, increase our financial flexibility and further reduce costs. 

Matthew Scott Goldstein is a versatile and hands-on, data-driven consultant with deep knowledge of the media business.