With consumers glued to phones and laptops, the year of pandemic shut-ins ended up being great for the biggest digital advertising businesses—particularly for Facebook, Amazon and even some smaller platforms such as Snap and Pinterest. These internet companies won’t give up that edge this year, say media buyers and analysts, although momentum will likely slow as advertisers shift some dollars back to traditional media like television. Apple’s changes to the way apps must disclose their ad tracking on iOS could also have a dampening effect.
The price of ads on Facebook and Instagram underscores the overall boom. Measured by cost per thousand impressions, these fell to a monthly average of around $1 last spring before surging to a monthly average of almost $5 in November, said Boston-based digital marketing agency Gupta Media, which analyzes spending by its customers worldwide. On Nov. 30, prices on the Facebook app hit a daily average of $8.16. Prices have come back down to earth since then but are still higher than they were before the pandemic.