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With COVID Surging, Digital Spend and Engagement Are Up

Sr. Social Strategist Jessica Guedes contributed to this report.

One of the predictions of 3Q’s Growth Sciences team’s 2020 Holiday Retail Guide was that advertisers would ramp up holiday spend much earlier this year, and October spend and engagement bore that out. So how did the November picture compare with spend and engagement from a year ago?

We ran an analysis (both paid search and Facebook/Instagram) from major eCommerce clients who are representative of 3Q’s full eCommerce portfolio and compared the numbers to November 2019. It may come as no surprise that spend, engagement, and performance were all on the rise as foot traffic continued to lag in the COVID-19 pandemic. But just how much did they increase?

Let’s jump in.

1) Paid social spend was up; paid search spend exploded

In a hotly contested election year, political news crowded social feeds, yet paid social spend in November 2020 increased by 36% year over year. While impressive, this growth seems modest in comparison with the growth of eCommerce-related paid search spend, which was up 66% from November 2019.

Perhaps most intriguing was where paid search expanded; YouTube saw an increase of over 70% YoY, suggesting that advertisers, along with spending earlier, were investing more in the middle of the funnel.

2) Paid search performance justified higher costs

The rush to get in…

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