Zenith 2021 forecast: social media ads up by 25%

Zenith 2021 forecast: social media ads up by 25%

Global spending on advertising this year will exceed pre-pandemic spending by 6%. Digital advertising will represent 58% of the market, up from 48% before the pandemic in 2019, according to advertising firm Zenith’s forecast. Social media advertising is expected to grow by 25% in 2021.

Global advertising expenditure will grow 11.2% this year, driven by exceptional demand for ecommerce advertising and brand advertising on online video. Advertising expenditure will total USD 669 billion this year, USD 40 billion more than was spent before the pandemic in 2019.

The US alone will supply 46% of new ad dollars this year.


”Growth in advertising expenditure is expected to remain robust in the medium term, with 6.9% growth forecast for 2022 and 5.6% for 2023.”

The average cost of television advertising will be up by 5% this year, well ahead of its 1% adspend growth rate.

”The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the structural shift in the economy from bricks-and-mortar sales to ecommerce, driving more consumers than ever to research and complete purchases online”, Zenith said.

“Brands have responded by forming partnerships with retailers and creating new direct-to-consumer operations, using performance-driven advertising – primarily in social media and paid search – to lead consumers down the path to purchase.”


Zenith forecasts that social media advertising will expand by 25% this year to reach USD 137 billion, overtaking paid search in scale for the first time. Paid search will expand by 19% to reach USD 135 billion.

”The shift to ecommerce will slow down as coronavirus restrictions lift and economies open up again, but won’t go into reverse.”

Zenith expects ecommerce to continue to pull in revenues to the ad market, driving 13% growth in social media and 12% growth in search in 2022.

Zenith predicts that online video advertising will be the fastest-growing digital channel in 2021, rising by 26% to reach USD 63 billion.


“The online video landscape continues to transform, fuelled by the growth of streaming services and connected TVs,” said Benoit Cacheux, Global Chief Digital Officer at Zenith. “Its continued evolution requires a radical rethink of how to build the optimal screen-neutral reach model. The ingestion of new data sources into TV planning also creates further opportunities to further sync TV and video planning.”

Traditional static display is forecast to shrink by 15% this year, while online classified grows by just 4%. Overall, Zenith expects digital advertising to grow by 19% in 2021, and increase its share of total adspend.

Moonshot News is an independent European news website for all IT, Media and Advertising professionals, powered by women and with a focus on driving the narrative for diversity, inclusion and gender equality in the industry.

Our mission is to provide top and unbiased information for all professionals and to make sure that women get their fair share of voice in the news and in the spotlight!

We produce original content, news articles, a curated calendar of industry events and a database of women IT, Media and Advertising associations.



[email protected]

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

    Do you want an experienced opinion on a job issue?
    Moonshot Manager is here to answer!

      Moonshot community sharing thoughts and ideas, in a anonymous, safe environment.